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Full text of "The commissioner: or, De lunatico inquirendo"

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Sweet Public ! 

In presenting you with the first part of the Travels of the 
Chevalier de Lunatico, which was intrusted to our care by that won- 
derful and distinguished diplomatist, in order to be properly prepared 
for the press, we feel it necessary to make some apology for not 
having, in every instance, with that true lunatic deference to public 
opinion, whether right or wrong, which is the characteristic of the 
present day, followed exactly every indication that we received of your 
views and wishes. The misfortune, however, was, that we could not 
at all discover which way public opinion tended, though we watched 
with the utmost anxiety and attention every intimation that might be 
given us by the daily and weekly papers. But we found that the 
public press was not only at variance in regard to this book amongst 
its own members — some declaring it flat, stale, and unprofitable, 
without fun, wit, taste, talent, or learning ; whilst others pronounced 
it to be the acme of human wisdom, full of brilliancy, fancy, judgment, 
genius, and instruction — but also that its opinion at different times, 
varied from its opinion at others ; the very same persons vituperating 
it virulently at one moment, and at another lauding it to the skies. 
Such being the case, it may be very well conceived that we were sadly 
at a loss how to proceed, believing, nay knowing — and now we speak 
seriously — that upon the weekly and daily press of England there is 
employed a greater amount of talent, learning, and judgment than 
probably any other country has ever brought to bear upon any great 
operation. Left without guide, then, we have done what we fear we 
might have done if we had had a whole regiment of guides, like the 
French army in Algeria — namely, followed our own course, feeling 


somewhat sure that, sooner or later, in one part or another, that 
course will please the reader also, whenever it does not shock or irritate 
bis own particular foUies, vices, vanities, and prejudices. 

Receive our book, therefore, reader, with kindness ; but first— if we 
may be permitted a figure — wash your eyes well with cold water before 
you read it, and rub your spectacles with a piece of chamois leather or 
a silk handkerchief; for as the medium is, so will be the colours th-at 
you see. If you do this, we have very little to fear, and leave the 
rest to your own good judgment. " Ego me tvxe commendo et committo 

On one point, however^ we must pause for a single moment; we 
have received letters innumerable, anonymous and ominous, charging 
us with having attempted to bring great personages into contempt, and 
to satirize individuals. Now, once for all, we deny the imputation, 
and assert most distinctly, as we have before asserted, that we have not 
attempted to paint or depict any single individual person now living. 
The vices, the faults, and the madnesses of many may here be a little 
scarified, it is true, and many a man may be perfectly conscious of 
having several of the weaknesses and follies portrayed in some of our 
personages ; but he must not for a moment suppose that we had him 
in our eye, when we took the pencil in hand. The Commissioner's 
foolscap may, and doubtless will, fit a great many people in this good 
world of ours ; but he begs leave to say that as his is a ready-made 
shop, the parties must try them on themselves, for he can assure them 
'hey were not made for them. In short, as the beautiful Aurora 
Borealis is probably nothing but a ray of galvanic light projected into 
space, so, dear reader, we wish this to be merely a ray of mental 
light, sent forth into the void of the world, to enable a few of our 
fellow-creatures to see how horrible and deformed are some of the 
'ireatures they have made pets of in the dark ; and with this distinct 
assurance, we shall now say. Vale. 

St. Luke's, 1st November, 1842. 




The Chevalier de Lunatico speaks of things in his own sphere — Gives a 
glance at the political constitution of the moon— The opinions of several 
statesmen of things in general — The origin and nature of the lunar 
commission — The ambassador is fnvested with extraordinary powers — 
Some account of his journey «... 


The chevalier's first acquaintance — Finds him to be a doubtful character — 
Two lovers introduced to the chevalier — A new sort of pickpocket — 
Schemes of life — An old gentleman's view of a young lady's happiness 


The chevalier finds himself in an awkward but common predicament — 
Inquires curiously into the nature of love— An invitation to a ball — The 
reasonableness of duelling demonstrated — The chevalier and the lover 
take an afternoon's ride — Whom we should marry and whom we should not — 
The previous history of one of the characters — The renowned Joey Pike 
is made acquainted with the reader, as well as Mrs. Muggins — Some more 
of the Worrel chronicles — The chevalier takes a moonlight ride, and 
meets with a soft solicitor on the king's highway . . .18 


The chevalier proposes a new way of stopping highway robbery — He is in- 
troduced to some gentlemen of rank and consequence — Finds the soft 
solicitor in an unexpected situation . . . .33 


A conversation apart — The peer indulges some of his propensities — Some 
business discussed — Mr. Fitzurse finds himself out of spirits — The peer 
has doubts as to his son's sobriety . . .38 


Jerry Tripe displays his principles — An inquiry into frolics — Joey Pike 
meets with promotion — An early walk that is not good for digestion — The 
principal, the second, and the bottle-holder • • .42 



A mistaken pursuit — The ends and objects of fox-hunting — The lover's 
return ....... 



A new history of an old parish clerk — Scenes of domestic felicity — Some 
pleasant conversation, ending with the last act of most tragedies — Joey 
Pike finds a friend wanting in spirit . • . .52 


Mr. Longmore proves that he can be an unpleasant companion — The che- 
valier's diplomatic benignity — The natural philosopher fails in setting the 
Thames on fire, but succeeds with his own house — Laura gets out of the 
^Ting-pan in the usual manner . . . • 


"Wherein the burning of Mr. Longmore's house is compared to another cele- 
brated conflagration — Jerry Tripe proves captivating, and the chevalier, 
accompanied by his friends, is provided with a conveyance from the scene 
of action — Jerry finds that a diamond can sometimes cut a diamond, and 
shows that he is fertile in resoui'cea — The advantages of being in the same 
basket with an enemy . . . . .66 


Some suspicion of a ghost — A scene of sorrow — The benevolent railer • 71 


Some of the notions of Mr. Longshanks — An illustration of free will and 
predestination . . . . . .78 


Joey Pike eats an imprudent supper — A new comparison for sleep — Joey's 
vision ! — His somnambulistic exercitations — Where he went to, and what 
he did there — A discussion upon the clothing of ghosts — The wanderer's 
return . . • . . . .83 


The chevalier recovers his portmanteau — Mr. Longmore, like a great 
statesman, devours his opinions — The charity of our dear friends — Joey 
Pike cuts an unpleasant acquaintance — Finds a friend in need and makes 
his appearance on the stage . . . . .87 



The shortest chapter in the book — The one that loved him — The last scene 
of a tragedy . . . . . .94 


Fitzurse redivivus — The corpse discovers the cause of his ailment — The 
peer hits upon a plan — Jerry Tripe sails under sealed orders — The ser- 
vants suspect their lord of cerebral disturbance — A second scene out of 
Tom Thumb . . . . . .97 


The fugitive thought* of Joey Pike — The chevalier takes a roll after break- 
fast — The chevalier obtains his first view of London by night — The author 
thereupon addresses the gods and goddesses, in order to mystify the 
reader, and be mistaken for an old Greek — A catalogue of sights — 
Worrel makes an uncivil comparison — The chevalier agrees, and puts up 
at the Golden Cross. ..... 101 


The writer defends himself against anticipated reproaches — How Laura 
Longmore happened to come whither she did come — Laura dislikes her 
situation — The viscount begins to have doubts as to the pleasantness of 
his own — The speeches of his satellites relieve him — He evinces the 
frankness of his nature — The evasion of certain prisoners renews the peer's 
embarrassment — He is relieved again by the profound wisdom of Tom 
Hamilton . . . . . . .106 


An inquest on the corpse of a living man — A new use is discovered for a 
table napkin — A juror is disappointed of his lawful seat — The viewing of 
the body and the merry mourners — Tom Hamilton takes out a diploma — 
The peer and his friend fire hot shot at each other — The jury decide upon 
their verdict . . . . . .Ill 


The Chevalier de Lunatico takes an early walk — Some of his first impres- 
sions of London reported — Joey Pike recovered — The chevalier entertains 
a beggar, and is invited by a reviewer . . . ,118 


4l question regarding Laura Longmore answered — She is forgotten by those 
who ought to have remembered her — She applies to the bell, and produces 
two maid servants — The reason why the maids in Outrun Castle hunted 
in couples — Laura passes a dull day and finds the night cold — She re- 
verses the proposition of giving up the ghost — In her spiritual capacity she 
knocks down Jerry Tripe and strikes a spark out of him . . 123 



The evils of lackeyism — A discourse with the minister — Argumentation 
upon ways and means — The sweets of office . . .129 


One system of reviewing — Worrel hints that there are other ones and 
better — A visit to a police office — Worshipful equity — News from the 
country — The chevalier begins to see day light . . .134 


The chevalier states his suspicions — Joey Pike makes a proposition — Ho 
voluntarily places himself in straitened circumstances — The composition 
of a young lady — Mademoiselle Brochet appears upon the stage — She 
meets with some ready-made love — Visits the village of Outran — 
Astounds Mrs. Muggins and becomes popular. . , , 140 


Mr. Longshanks preaches without ordination — Mr. Longmore objects to one 
of ihe qualities of a ghost — Widow Bain stands up in defence of one 
apparition, and meets with a more substantial one than she expected . 146 


An inquiry into the moral condition of Mrs. Scapulary — She confers with a 
friend who helped her at a pinch — He says sweet things to the widow — 
She expresses her apprehensions and finally draws a secret from him — 
Mademoiselle Brochet treads upon the heels of the secret — She alarms 
and puzzles Mrs. Scapulary — The widow prepares the way for putting 
her friend in a state of suspense — She makes a mistake in regard to time 
and place ....... 150 


Laura Longmore in bed — What may be suggested by a dream — The plea- 
sures of mooncalfing — An essay upon laughs — Laura has an interview 
with the peer, and seizes an opportunity of proving to her father that she 
was less combustible than he thought her — She resumes the ghost — ^inter- 
rupts a tite-d-tite, and gives a piece of wholesome advice . . 164 


The peer expresses his opinion upon spirits — He at length has recourse to 
one himself — Mr. Fitzurse objects to being buried alive, but consents to 
walk at his own funeral — He undertakes a capital j-ourney — Tom Hamilton 
fishes, and catches a larger fish than he expected — He moralises and 
exhorts ....... 161 



Mr. de Lunatico dines in good company — Some opinions upon politics and 
cookery — The chevalier fulfils his mission — He returns home and hears 
some pleasant news . . . . . .168 


Jerry Tripe is raised to the post of ambassador — The qualifications of a 
monosyllable — Mr. Tripe, like all wise plenipotentiaries, takes a high 
position — Love brings him low — He commits a faux-paSy which proves a 
diity business — He is rescued and consoled . . . .177 


Tom's ghost story — How Thomas Hamilton, Esq. kept up his courage — 
How he carried it up stairs spilling some by the way — How he had a 
striking proof of the substantiality of a spirit . . . 186 


The chevalier, "Worrel, and Mr. Longmore, conspire to go to a ball— Civic 
festivities — The chevalier differs with Terpsichore, and forms his own 
opinion of dancing — Mr. Longmore stands up in defence of the fantastic 
toe — A civic magistrate's ideas of rising in the world — an unexpected 
guest — Mr. Fitzurse finds himself more dead than alive — He is not treated 
with posthumous honours — But makes his escape in great fear of the 
nominative case, neuter gender, of the relative pronoun — The chevalier 
is introduced to Alderman Rotundity, who proves somewhat too classical 
— He gives information and an invitation 1 . . . \QZ 


The chevalier proves very inviting — The battle of the chariots — The 
chevalier undervalues the London police — He risks his reputation — The 
story of Betsy Trollop . . . . .200 


The metropolis abandoned — Rotundity Court — Some new geological disco- 
veries — Classical tastes — Unde derivatur . . • 207 


Tom Hamilton delivers a ghastly message — He proves himself a connoisseur 
in spirits — A ghost-trap set — The muster of maidens — A rebellion in 
petticoats ...... 213 


A ghost can be in a fright — Laura begins to doubt the safety of her pro- 
ceedings — Difficulties unprovided for — A nocturnal visitant — Mademoiselle 
Brochet appears, and puts the shoe upon the right horse — Laura dreams 


of matrimony without love — Mademoiselle Brochet finds a likeness for 
herself — Laura does not follow the example of love in laughing at lock- 
smiths Mademoiselle Brochet conducts her into the porch of the Tripeiau 

Temple, and discovers an important letter to which she puts the finishing 
stroke — Jerry Tripe awakes inopportunely . . . 219 


A dinner-party- — The incubus of the parish — Mr. Deputy Popeseye — The 
use of snuff — Pleasant conversation — " Mock turtle" — The wisdom of 
playing at cards — Lunar accommodation for gamblers — A voice from 
without ....... 226 


Which shows how the viscount was seized with a propensity which he had 
forsworn — How Jerry Tripe disarmed his wrath — The horrors of a butler's 
dream — A ghost trap — And what was in it. . . , 233 


The author descants, and sadly abuses the patience of the reader — He 
returns, "a ses premiers amours" — An unpleasant predicament for a 
young lady — Joey Pike himself confounded — The mouse and the lion . 238 


A cook's revenge — The evils of suspicion — An empty nest and a flown 
bird ...... 246 


Mademoiselle Brochet obtains new lights — The unconscious witnesses — The 
repose of widowhood disturbed — The retaliation — The secrets of the 
bandbox in danger — Laura found and lost — Ill-requited chivalry . 260 


Laura Longmore reckons with fortune — But reckons without her host — 
A quoi reveni les jeunes files — An unwelcome visitor — The flight and 
pursuit — A second trap — Caught at last .... 257 


The fate of Mr. Longshanks — The state of his relations with his horse — 
Mr. Smalldram re-appears de profundis — Mr. Longshanks misapprehends 
the disorder of his patient — He searches for occult effects and meets with 
some sad spectacles . . . ^ . , 262 


Joey Pike finds the stile in possession of spirits not ethereal — An etymolo- 
gical discussion of a diabolical nature — The valour of Joseph — He passes 
the breach — Retreats not without loss — Rallies — Repulses the enemy— 
Performs various feats of strategy — Fate proves perversely adverse . 269 



Laura in her prison — The return of the madman — Their flight — Glimpses 
of a sad story — Laura's escape .... 274 


Mademoiselle Brochet falls out of the frying-pan into the fire — How to 
mystify a justice — Prison recreations — Joey's discoveries — A proposal . 279 


The viscount sinks into poetry — The heir's return — Literary friends — A 
recognition — The poet — And his audience . . . 289 


The horns of a dilemma — A fire-eating acquaintance — Mr. Fitzurse chooses 
between the deaths and marriages — The cruelty of Thomas Hamilton, Esq. 297 


The chevalier turns missionary — His principles of action towards a horse — 
He holds a conversation with Mr. Longshanks upon a grave subject — 
— A medico-physiological discussion — A hint upon Tripe . . 303 


Mr. Darius composes a history — His birth, parentage, and education — Jane 
differs with him on a point of longitude — A new reason for a Christian 
name — Travels through many lands — The war-dance of the Tonga 
Islands — Mr. Fitzurse rescued from scalping . . . 309 


An afficted family — The progress of a cook's revenge — New use of an 
alarm-bell — Restored tranquillity — The chevalier puts various things 
together — A butler's heroism . . . . .316 


Notis revenons a nos moutons — The reader is instructed in the way to get on 
— Laura entertains aristocratical notions — What is produced in the epi- 
gastric region of fancy footmen — A tall man does towards her what most 
mortals do towards themselves, mistakes her wants — How to judge of a 
man's master ...... 


The temper of moonlight — A corn-law lecture — The chevalier in the way 
— Mr. Darius undertakes more than he can manage — A shocking 
mistake . , . . . . , . 3^ 



Left in the lurch — The peer's magnanimity — The mistake confirmed — 
The march of the forces — Hunt the hare — Jerry caught . . 330 


The fortress summoned — A parley — A new way of teaching magistrates to 
consider a question coolly — Hard conditions — The surprise . . 335 


Mademoiselle Brochet in prison — The way innocent people may be treated 
in England — Joey's despair — Tripe to the rescue . . .341 


A number of old gentlemen brought to bed-r-The chevalier makes Mrs. 
Muggins confess she has a secret — An essay upon the virtues of fancy 
footmen resumed ...... 346 


Joey Pike recovers spirits — His own account of himself— Tripe on magis- 
terial appointments — An essay on suspended animation . . 363 


An essay upon force of character — Mr. Longshanks makes use of punch in a 
way it was never used before — He is over-confident — Joey Pikes takes an 
airing — He forgets his promise — A constable kills a pig in single combat 358 


Mr. Longshanks proved in the wrong — The fugitive discovered — The peer's 
resolve — ^Laura deceived . . . . .361 


The boys of Outrun display the peculiarities of boys in other places — Mr. 
Longshanks discourses upon devil *s drops — Mr. Puddenstream shows his 
aversion for truth— The saddle is put upon the right horse . . 365 


Mr. Fitzurse finds himself in danger — The great Darius explains his notions 
gastronomic — Tom Hamilton acts paranymph — His galloping meditations 
— He does battle against odds — A Friend in "need — Some account of Mr. 
Smalldram previous to his capture. , . . . 375 



How Laura's hopes rested upon her father's adhesive qualities — How she and 
her companion were rejoined by the madman — An accident which proved to 
Laura some more of the evils of getting on too fast — How her history got 
to its last stage, and the hopes of her house were overturned . . 386 


A black-hole escape — Assassination tables proposed — Mr. Smalldram thrown 
oflF his guard — A duel interrupted — The chevalier and Mr. Tripe come to 
an understanding ...... 388 


The undeserved misfortunes of Viscount Outrun — The eulogium of good 
nature — Joey Pike asserts his claims — They are admitted by the viscount 
— ^A day after the fair — His lordship's magnanimity . . 393 


The dark hints of Tom Hamilton — The axioms of Mrs. Muggins — The 
reflections of the chevalier — The bridal procession — The discomfiture of 
the magistracy — The eloquence of the peer . . . 400 


How the chevalier and Mr. Longmore heard news of Laura — How the che- 
valier gave the go-by to the magistrates — A disquisition upon fleas'-knees 
and kangaroos' tails — The siege and defence of Miss Rotundity, and how 
her fortress was succoured ..... 406 


How the peer showed his fancies for junketing — How Tom Hamilton and 
Harry Worrel were made friends — How Jerry Tripe was freed from his 
peril, and how Mr. Darius incited him to some unknown species of assas- 
sination ....... 412 


How Joey Pike assumed his dignity — How the truth came out — How Harry 
Worrel received great benefit from Thomas Hamilton, Esq. — And how he 
appeared in a new character ..... 416 


The lamentable condition of Mr. Pike — The relief he received from the con- 
descension of the peer — Mr. Darius in his glory — How the festivities of 
Outrun Castle had a tragic conclusion, and the glory of Mr. Darius waa 
turned into shame ....•• 424 


How the peer consoled himself for the misfortunes which had befallen him — 
The last flare-up at Outrun Castle .... 431 


How the story came to an end — How Harry Worrel married Laura Long- 
more — Mr. Scapulary's property enriched Joey Pike — Betsy Trollop was 
provided for — Mr. Smalldramvand Mrs. Scapulary hanged — and every body 
very happy ...... 438 


The Marriage . 

The Chevalier's first game at bowls 

The Visit to the Half Moon 

The Duel ..... 

The Hunt ..... 

Mr. Tripe fuddles the constables 

The Somnambulist .... 

Resurrection of Mr. Fitzurse 

Jerry Tripe meets with a spirit not to his taste . 

Joey Pike undergoing transformationg 

Joe's walk down the Strand 

The Morning Call ..... 

Jerry Tripe's Bath .... 

Mr. Fitzurse treated with posthumous honours 

The Revolt of the Petticoats 

The Outrun Phalanx in marching disorder 

The disagreeable effects of aggrawating a cook . 

Miss Brochet discomforting her pursuers 

Joey entrapped ..... 

Fitzurse redivivus . • . . . 

The Tonga Dance .... 

A Hunt after Tripe .... 

The Outrun Fire-tank .... 

Mr. Fitzurse horrified and terrified at the appetite of Mr. Darius 

Tom Hamilton to the rescue . . 

Joey embraces his uncle .... 

Miss Rotundity shows fight 

Death of Fitzurse ..... 


. 10 


. 46 


. 70 


. 97 

. 141 

. 180 

. 197 

. 236 

. 271 

. 291 

. 334 

. 376 

. 396 

. 428 










Whereas La JRevue des Deux Mondes, will doubtless expect, that I 
should address myself to the inhabitants of both the spheres with which 
I have had to do ; I must, contrary to the usual custom of authors, 
and especially in opposition to the rule laid down by the great poet 
Horace, begin my story at the beginning. 

On the twenty-seventh day of the week, then, in the sixteen million- 
eth year of the moon's revolution round the earth, a great parliament, or 
assembly of representatives, was held in the capital city of St. Luke ; 
where a speaker being chosen, on accoxmt of his being dumb, the 
house occupied itself for some hours in discussing whether they should 
say what they meant, or what they did not mean ; when it was decided 
that, according to the constitutional practice of the moon, every man 
ought to say exactly what he did not mean, but what somebody else 

The house then passed to the order of the day, and the report of 
the committee appointed to inquire whether any of the subjects of the 
moon had enlisted in the service of other states, and to prepare a 
foreign enlistment bill accordingly, having been brought up, Mr. 
Bully O'Cucumber, one of the members for the great volcano, rose 
and said, that the treatment which the volcano had received at the 
hands of the, rest of the planet, was such as had never been endured, 
and never would be endured, to the end of time. He was going on to 
declare that the monstrous and horrible atrocities committed by the 

C. — NO. I. B 


bloody and ferocious tyrants on tlie otlier side of the house, v.ould 
never be able to smother the fire of the volcano, or keep down the 
periodical irruptions to which it was subject : but he was interrupted 
by loud cries of " order, order — question, question." And after foam- 
ing at the mouth for some time, and gesticulating with infinite vehe- 
mence towards various parts of the house, he concluded by saying, that 
as honourable gentlemen were unwilling to hear truth — indeed they 
always were unwilling to hear the truth : truth was to them a drop of 
poison, which turned all their cup of joy to bitterness — but as they 
were unwilling to hear truth and him, he would only add, that they had 
better beware how they attempted to smother the fire of the volcano ; 
for if he saw any effort of the kind, he was ready to cast himself into 
the midst of it ; and who could doubt that the result would be the 
blowing up of the whole orb ? He spoke expressly for the benefit of 
the honourable gentleman who was likely soon to come into power ; 
for his propensity to keeping down flames of all kinds was too well 
known, to leave a doubt that one of his first efforts would be — if he 
might use such a figure — to cork the great volcano itself. 

Sir Richard PoM^er then rose, and said, that he would not attempt to 
follow the honourable member through the whole of his long and 
irrelevant speech ; but he must say a few words, as that honourable 
gentleman had taken upon him to presume that he. Sir Richard, was 
likely soon to be called to power. Now, neither he, nor any one else, had 
any right to pre-suppose such a thing so confidently. He would, there- 
fore, in no degree say what might be his measures towards the great 
volcano, should he ever be called into power. He would, however, 
tell the honourable gentleman, in general terms, what he thought of 
the district for which he was one of the representatives. He believed 
it to be one of the fairest and most beautiful portions of the globe we 
inhabit, rich in all the gifts of nature, and filled with a population, 
bright, generous, and kind, who had been placed by a concatenation of 
adverse and peculiar circumstances, in opposition to those who were 
really most friendly to them, and in the power of licentious dema- 
gogues, who were generally animated by one of two dangerous spirits— 
the violent spirit of factious party, or the more cunning spirit of per- 
sonal ambition and self-interest. In regard to the fire of the volcano, 
he must set the honourable gentleman right respecting his opinion. 
He did not regard it as the great evil which the honourable gentleman 
supposed. He looked upon it as one of the vivifying principles which 
gave to the district additional fertility, warmth, richness, and beauty ; 
and far from wishing to see it stopped, or even to do away with its 
occasional irruptions, the utmost he should ever desire would be, so to 
guard every fine edifice, and every great establishment ; so to protect 
the city, the field, the mansion, and the cottage, that the flame might 
injure no one, but pass away peacefully, after diffusing warmth and 
brightness around. Having said thus much, he would recall the house 
to the question before it, namely, the report of the committee, and 
their recumiaeiulation that a commissioner should be sent to the nether 
sphere, for the pm-pose of inquiring whether the numerous spirits 


proved to have abandoned their native country had taken refuge on the 
earth below. 

A long and somewhat desultory discussion ensued : some members 
declaring that the appointment of a commissioner was premature ; and 
others observing that they did not see why he should be sent down to 
the earth rather than to any other planet whatsoever. Some thought 
it would be better to begin by Saturn, or the Georgium Sidus, as the 
ultimate star of the whole system, and drive the stray spirits back 
from planet to planet, till they reached the moon. Others judged 
differently again, and proposed that the commission should begin its 
inquiries as near the sim as possible. Another honourable member, 
who was known to have a numerous family, and a great number of 
poor relations, believed it would be expedient to have a number of 
separate commissions, one to each star ; and he demonstrated beyond 
all doubt or contradiction, that the more a government spent, the more 
economical it really was ; that national prosperity was proved by 
bankruptcy, and that the diminution of the revenue was the best pos* 
sible means of increasing the finances. 

In the end, however, one of the committee rose to defend the 
report, and showed that therein, it had been proved by returns from 
the earth itself, that, a greater number of persons, whose whole 
Conduct and demeanour showed them to be born subjects of the moon, 
had appeared on the surface of the inferior planet, since the year 
1830, (as it is termed upon the earth) than at any preceding period, 
except during the years 1790-1-2-3-4-5, &c. J and, he therefore 
'agreed that, as this fact was ascertained, it was but just and expedient 
to send a conimissioner thither \vith full powers to claim, and send 
back all deserters from the lunar sphere ; and he ended, by assuring 
some of the honourable gentlemen, that two and two never would 
make more than four, notwithstanding all that political economists 
might say. His speech ended the debate, the question was then put 
and carried without a division, and an humble address was voted and 
presented to his imperial majesty, whom the people of Europe pro- 
phanely call, " The man in the Moon," beseeching him to send down a 
commissioner as aforesaid. 

It was his majesty's pleasure, upon the recomniendation of his 
secretary of state for strange affairs, to nominate so unworthy a person 
as myself, John de Lunatico, and to address to me a commission, 
dated on the tliird day of the sixteenth millioneth year, empowering 
me to inquire what subjects of the moon, truly so speaking, are 
resident upon the earth, without special leave and permission of his 
Lunatic Majesty ; and to deliver summonses or subpoenas in the form 
of small billets, signed with my name and sealed with my seal, to 
such persons, as Upon due investigation, I might judge to be astray, 
either from the capital city of St. Luke, or any other part of his 
majesty's dominions. The minister, at the same time that he delivered 
to me this commission, informed me that he would have full powers 
prepared for me by the seventh day of the same week, and at the 
jRaine tiifle strongly advised me tip keep a public and a private journal ; 

4 THE commissioner; ok, 

the public journal to be delivered immediately after my return into the 
hand of the ministry, and never to be seen by any other eye but their 
own ; the private journal to be printed as soon as possible for general 

With these injunctions I promised to comply most devoutly, and 
retiring to my own house, I proceeded to make every preparation 
for my journey ; affecting, as is usual on such occasions, to find it the 
most inconvenient thing in the world k) go, while, in reality and truth, 
nothing could give me greater pleasure than to make such a trip at the 
public expense. I packed up accordingly those clothes and articles of 
various kinds that were absolutely necessary, in a small portmanteau 
covered with moon-calf-skin, and then having asked one of the 
ex-ministers to help me to find a mare's nest, I took some of the eggs as 
provision by the way. Some small business, which I had to transact 
with the treasury, detained me a considerable time, for on my first 
visit, the secretary told me that it was impossible to extract a single 
farthing from any chest in the place. On my second visit, however, 
the prime minister being busy with a lady, and the secretary eating 
his luncheon, one of the clerks gave me a key, and told me to help 
myself. This being done I had only to wait for my credentials. 

On the eleventh day of the week, and year, whereof I have just 
spoken, I received the full powers which had been promised me, and 
I have since seen, during my travels upon the earth, how very useful 
it would be if the ambassadors of sublunar courts could be endued 
with the same, instead of the empty and unmeaning pieces of paper 
and parchment which they carry with them on their diplomatic missions. 
My powers were comprised in a pill box, a pot of ointment, and a 
phial; and J was directed immediately when I descended upon the earth 
to rub my eyes with the ointment, which would enable me, at once, to 
see into things in a much more profound manner than any of those 
around me, perceiving the real feelings and thoughts of all the men 
with whom I might be brought in contact, and making them declare 
tmto me their true sentiments and ideas without the slightest reserve. 
The contents of the phial were left to my discretion either to drink or 
not as I liked, but I was informed that by taking a small portion 
thereof I should be able to enter into, and sympathise >vith, the sen- 
sations of any of my mortal companions that seemed to me worthy of 
such condescension on my part ; and it was insinuated, though I was 
not directly commanded to do so, that it would be well for me, oc- 
casionally, to have recourse to the contents of the bottle, in order that 
I might more clearly comprehend the motives as well as the actions of 
mankind in general. 

The pill box contained three hundred and ninety-seven pills of dif- 
ferent sizes — some no bigger than the head of a pin, some as large as 
a tolerably sized marble. These represented the three hundred and 
ninety-seven languages of the earth, their sizes betokening the riches or 
poverty of the tongue. Thus, German was a tremendous bolus ; 
English, a very good sized pill; Italian, somewhat less, but re- 
markably smooth and round j French, a small pea, somewhat gritty, 


but rolling about with gi-eat celerity ; Russian, of a somewhat larger 
size, but of a very irregular form, while there were a multitude of 
lesser ones, such as the languages of the Sandwich Islands, New Zealand, 
Otaheite, &c. ; and nine or ten of the size of a minikin pin's head, 
upon each of which, by the aid of a microscope, might be discovered 
the word, Australia. By taking any one of these pills, I swallowed 
a complete language with almost as much facility as a certain reverend 
gentleman in the little green island, called Ireland. 

I was enjoined to set off with all speed, and, as I find is usual in 
such cases, although the government had delayed so many days in sending 
me my credentials, they did not allow me a single day to take leave of 
my friends. I accordingly put myself, at once, on board a steam-boat, 
crossed the great sea towards the side of the planet which is turned to 
the earth, and then, for the second time in my life, beheld, what is 
certainly the most magnificent sight which my eyes ever yet lighted 
upon — the earth rolling through space in all its glory, and, apparently, 
about forty times as large as the sun, but shining with that calm, soft, 
mellow light, which has met celebration well deserved from all the 
sentimental poets of St. Luke. I myself have -written poetry upon the 
subject, which I may give the reader in an appendix. However, it is 
not at all astonishing that the people on the other side of the moon are 
so fond of making a trip round to see this magnificent sight. 

Having arrived at the small village and port to which the steam- 
boat plied, an immediate demand was made for my passport, an instru- 
ment, which I am proud to say, was first invented in the moon ; and 
having exhibited my papers, I went to the railway office, and required 
a special train to carry me down to the earth. This, however was 
somewhat rudely refused me ; and, indignant at such conduct, I deter- 
mined to proceed by the old-fashioned way, which we wtell know was 
employed upon a former occasion by his imperial majesty himself, and 
wliich there is reason to believe, is as speedy as any steam-carriage in 
either sphere, seeing it is recorded that he came down too soon to find 
his way to Norwich. 

Accordingly, I set myself upon a fine, smooth, oblique moonbeam, 
drew my knees up to my chin, gathered my coat tails under my arms, 
placed my little portmanteau behind me, put my hands over my knees, 
and requesting a tobacconist, who happened to be passing by, to give 
me a gentle push, I began sliding downwards with a pleasant, easy 
motion, the thin moonbeam swaying up and down beneath me like an 
Indian's bridge of grass in the Pampas of Peru. The journey was 
as a pleasant a one as ever was made, and tolerably rapid also : the 
only thing at all annoying in my course, being the fact of the tobacco- 
nist aforesaid distiu*bing some of the loose pebbles, in his exertion to 
push me off, which came rattling down after me, and reached the 
earth before I was half way thither. I saw one of these small stones 
afterwards in the cabinet of a naturalist, and the fool called it an 
aerolite. In about two hours I was within a thousand miles of the 
earth, which, by this time, had lost its luminous appearance, and 
seemed nothing but a great, black, dxiU mass lying imderneath me. 



The aspect of the place appeared somewhat cold and strange ; but 
just at that moment, a number of merry voices singing, cheered me on 
the way, and I found it was a large party of Frenchmen's wits just 
going up to the moon, having been lost by their right owners during 
some great political disturbance. They passed close by me, and X 
heard them sing the following song to a merry tune as they went : — 



The moon, the moon, the jolly round moon ; 

Let us all up to her bright face soon I 

There's nothing on earth that should keep us below ; 

The folks are all flat, and the coaches all slow. 

Their wine is all sour, and their pipe out of tune ; 

So up to the moon, the jolly round moon I 

The moon, the moon, the jolly round moon I 


There is nothing on earth that is sure for an hour ; 
Look at that little minister climbing to power. 
The patriot now, the parasite then. 
He'll get up on high, and he'll fall back again : 
He'll argue on one side from morning till noon, 
And next day he'll send his last speech to the moon ; 
The moon, the moon, the jolly round moon. 


Humbug's the trade that prospers all through, 
From the crown bearing king, to the bag bearing Jew ; 
The lawyer, the statesman, the doctor, the dame. 
The priest and the pagan, all humbugs the same ; 
And but as much truth, as would lie in a spoon 
Would blow the whole universe up to the moon ; 
The moon, the moon, the jolly round moon. 


I saw a young widow as cold as the ice, 

I saw a great patriot refusing his price, 

I saw a great lawyer decline a bad cause, 

I saw a great orator hating applause ; 

But all found out motives for changing full soon. 

And their good resolutions went up to the moon ; 

The moon, the moon, the jolly round moon. 

i>E LtJNAtiCO IXQUniE^*»0. 


The way's somewhat lon<^, and the coach somewhat old. 
We shall need some provisions to keep out the cold. 
So what have you got, Jean, to use by the way. 
For you keep the bag and the piper must pay ? 
"We must make ourselves merry, for mirth is a boon 
Less fitted for earth than the jolly round moon j 
The moon, the moon, the jolly round moon. 


Here's a farthing a miser once gave to the poor. 

The tears of an heir, and the smile of ,* 

A physician's prescription, a dear friend's advice. 
The virtue of countesses not over nice. 
The love of a poet, and tail of baboon. 
Here's provision enough to go up to the moon ; 
The moon, the moon, the jolly round moon. 

In ten minutes more I entered a thick cloud, as it seemed to me, so 
great was the oppression upon my chest by the increasing density 
of the atmosphere ; but, still, every thing was clear around the eye, 
and I speedily began to see below me green fields and valleys, and 
streams and lakes, together with villages and churches, and country 
houses and towns, all very like the moon indeed. " This is a de- 
lightful country," I said to myself; " equal to the brightest parts of 
our own planet. I am sure I shall be pleased with the people, and 
will endeavour to enter into their characters.** 

I made a resolution, then, to take a few drops from my phial when- 
ever I was introduced into a society where the faces were pleasing to 
me, so that I might sympathise with my companions, even if it were 
but for an hour. This was a rash resolution, of which I had soon 
cause to repent, as the reader will see hereafter ; but to pursue my 
history, the thickness of the atmosphere speedily lost its oppressive 
effect, but it answered a very good purpose by gradually diminishing 
the rapidity of my progress, which, had it gone on might have 
brought me into very impleasant collision with the earth. As it was, 
sliding gently down with a decreasing velocity, I was guided by the 
moonbeam into a pleasant old-fashioned garden, as I heard it after- 
wards termed, of a very peculiar aspect, which, as I at once perceived, 
from the accounts that I had read in the many millions of books of 
lunatic travels, that I have perused, denoted that I was in no other 
country but that called England. 

It is true that this garden was not of the taste of the present day ; 
but there were those marks about it which left no doubt as to the 

* This word is so blotted out in the original, that it was found impossible to 
decipher it. Some think that the Ime should have ended with " Jane Shore,'* or 
something of that kmd. 


8 THE commissioner; or, 

locality. There were numerous beds of flowers within trim, neatly cut 
borders of box, while round about, filling up all the vacancies between 
these beds, was a smooth green turf. The garden was surrounded by 
thick hedges of yew, some eight feet high, and over the whole, the calm 
tranquil light of our own beautiful planet was streaming, illuminating 
every corner thereof, so that one could see the most minute stone in 
a smooth gravel-walk that ran between the flower-garden and a little 
bowling-green. This latter spot was covered with the same velvet- 
like turf, and sunk somewhat lower than the rest of the ground with 
inclined edges sloping gently off, and giving the whole the appearance 
of a green soup-plate. I came down without any noise, though the 
heels of my boots made a slight indentation in the turf as I lighted, 
but without producing any unpleasant sensation in my own frame. I 
felt myself very comfortable, my spirits high, my prospects bright, 
and the inquiry upon which I was about to enter, one of the most 
interesting that it is possible to conceive. The manifold curious re- 
sults of that inquiry, the reader will soon know ; but as, in its course, 
I had an opportunity of bestowing inestimable benefits upon my own 
country, and performing acts, which must leave my name immortal, 
as my genius, and wisdom, and discrimination, and judgment, my 
courage, my skill, my wit, and my talents, were all displayed in such 
a manner as to astound and surprise any one who is capable of those 
passions, a due and becoming modesty induces me, notwithstanding 
the solicitation of my friends, and the urgent request of the govern- 
ment, to put my notes into the hands of a clever young acquaintance, 
and beg him to give an account of my travels to the world in his own 
words ; thus, avoiding egotism, and sparing a terrible consumption of 
capital Ps. 






The travels of the Chevalier de Lunatico may be said to take their 
point of departure from the little bowling-green, at the edge of which 
he first lighted in his descent. It is greatly to be regretted indeed that 
he has not thought fit to give us farther information concerning tlie 
moon, its political state, civil, religious, and military history, natural 
productions, and philosophical progress, as the things that can be of 
not the slightest benefit to us are of course always the most interest- 
ing. His silence in these respects however, leaves us no choice, and 
we must even take up the history of his journey where he himself left 
it, and begin from the pleasant little garden into which he had found 
his way. 

To say the truth he was a little agitated, or fluttered, at his new 
position, but he recovered himself in a moment, and looking round 
him, the first object his eyes rested on was an old gentleman with a 
thoughtful air, walking up and down in the bowling-green before- 
mentioned, enjoying the moonlight. The chevalier was naturally 
attracted to a person of such tastes, and followed him as he turned 
towards the other side of the green, not having perceived the descent 
of a stranger into his garden. Mr. de Lunatico thought fit, however, 
in the first instance, to place his portmanteau under a shrub, and 
swallow a pill out of his box, Avhich instantly made him thoroughly 
acquainted with the English language ; nor did he forget his eye-salve, 
but took care to be well prepared before he made a single step in the 
new world before him. The old gentleman turned at the other side 
of the bowling-green, and the chevalier advancing, made an excuse 
for intruding upon his privacy. The powers, however, with wliich he 
was endowed, had their effect upon the stranger at once, and taking 
the chevalier's hand, he shook it heartily, saying, with a benevolent 
air, that he was delighted to see him whatever was the cause of his 
coming. " I am taking," he said, " my usual solitary walk by moon- 
light, giving up my thoughts to philosophical inquiries for half an 
hour before I go to supper, and if you will do me the favour of accom- 
panying me while I continue my perambulations, w^e will afterwards 
go in, and I will introduce you to my daughter, and a young cousin 
of ours who is just now staying at my house ; you will find them very 
pleasant people." 

" I doubt it not in the least," replied the chevalier, in a civil tone. 
** You seem very fond of the moonlight, sir." 

10 The coMMisstONER ; or, 

" Very," said he. 

" Pray, were you ever in the moon, sir ?" demanded Mr. de 

" Often," replied his companion. 

That is candid at least, thought the chevalier to himself, putting 
his hand into his pocket, and seeking for one of his little billets for the 
moon, with the full intention of sending his new friend back imme- 
diately ; but the moment after, the old gentleman added, " Of course 
we both speak figuratively. I have often visited the moon with my 
telescope, and think that I have made some discoveries. However, I 
am not vain of them nor too sure of them ; for in this wonderful age 
so much is every day added to our stock of knowledge, that we hourly 
learn how little we do know, how little we can ever know, and how 
imperfectly we know that which we are permitted to know." 

The chevalier buttoned up his breeches pocket in which he kept 
the billets, saying to himself, " This will never do ! No signs of a 
stray spirit here !" But just at that moment the old gentleman laid 
his hand upon his visitor's shoulder, saying with a good-humoured 
cheerful smile — " But my moralizing makes you serious. What a 
beautiful night it is : come, let us have a game of bowls, there are the 
balls in the corner — you understand the game ? — Well, then, I'll show 
you — take off your coat, take off your coat — now you see, hold your 
ball in this manner, balancing him right in the middle of your hand 
in this way." — And after a few words more of instruction, the chevalier 
and his old companion were in the middle of a game of bowls, Mr. 
de Lunatico, somewhat clumsy at the unaccustomed trade, and his in- 
structor laughing till his eyes ran down with tears at every hit he made 
and the chevalier lost. 

The latter unbuttoned his pocket again, slipped his hand into it, 
drew out a billet between his finger and thumb, and concealed it in 
the palm of his hand, only waiting till the game was done to present 
it in due form. When it was over, however, the old gentleman wiped 
his brow, put on his coat, and with his kind and instructive air, said — 
" I dare say this seems to you all very foolish, that a man of my years, 
studies, and experience, with higher subjects on which to employ liis 
mind, and with some habits of reflection, should spend any portion of 
his time in the sports of a boy. But I hold it to be wise so to regulate 
our enjoyments that we lose none, and as our youthful pleasures are 
certainly sweeter than any other, to bring them back from time to time 
to refresh us in om* old age, as a man who has long been accustomed 
to drink wine, finds when thirsty ten times more relief in a glass of 
plain cold water." 

Once more replacing his billet, the chevalier resolved not to be so 
hasty in his conclusions for the future, and was inclined to put it to 
himself as a sort of problem for future solution, whether there is most 
reason in folly, or folly in reason^ 

" Now, let us go in," said the old gentleman, in continuation ; " but 
in the first place favour me with your name, that I may introduce you 
properly, though, as the great poet has justly observed, * W^hat's in a 




name ?' Nevertheless, it is convenient as a mode of classification ; for 
every one must be somehow designated to our minds, and were I never 
to learn what you are called amongst your own friends, I should have to 
put you down in the book of memory as the man with the long nose,"* 

Having a sort of natural jealousy in regard to any one meddling 
with that peculiar feature of his face on which the old gentleman had 
touched, the chevalier hastened to stop him from making any farther 
allusions to his proboscis, by informing him that the visitor was called 
by his friends and countrymen, the Chevalier de Lunatico, that he was 
a stranger in the country, and was in fact upon a voyage of discovery. 
This intelligence seemed to be very satisfactory to the old gentleman, 
and he was proceeding to make various inquiries into the peculiar 
nature of the objects the chevalier proposed to himself, which might 
not have been very convenient to answer, when a sudden gust of cold 
air interrupted their conversation by reminding the host that it was 
time to return into the house. Leading the way, therefore, with the 
most perfect politeness, he conducted the chevalier to a small ivy- 
covered porch, by which they entered into the dwelling. The passage 
was crowded mth all manner of things, as various in their nature aa 
those deposited in the great museum of the capital. There were tele- 
scopes beyond number, of all shapes and sizes, which the old philo- 
sopher called his guns for shooting at the stars. There were electrical 
machines with which he declared that, but give him a wire long 
enough, and he would knock down an ox on the other side of the 
world. There were screws, and levers, and quadrants, and sextants, 
and artificial horizons ; there were air-pumps so perfect, that a guinea 
and a feather, instead of falling with equal velocity, would not fall at 
all ; and galvanic batteries and piles, by means of which he assured 
the chevalier that he could produce spontaneous lice. Mr. de Lu- 
natico told him in reply to this last boast, that he thought he had 
better let it alone, as those things multiply fast enough without assist- 
ance ; at least it is well known that such is the case in the moon, 
especially in the heads of philosophers. 

It was with some difl[iculty that the two threaded this encumbered 
maze, and at length reached a mahogany door, which being suddenly 
opened by the host, displayed the interior of a comfortable chamber, 
and a little domestic scene very pleasant to the eyes of the chevalier. 
The room was low and wainscotted with dark wood, but it was well and 
cheerfully lighted, for the philosopher was very much at his ease in the 
world. A thick carpet, from a country called Turkey, covered the floor, 
several tables occupied difierent places in the room, and the corners were 
adorned with neat antique shelves, on which were piled up numerous 
pieces of ancient porcelain, extraordinary shells, and other curiosities, 
while a large piano-forte occupied a conspicuous place, loaded on the 
top with a guitar, a flute, and a number of books of music. 

On the hearth crackled a bright wood fire, and on a wide-spreading 
sofa, with downy pillows and a chintz cover, sat side by side, and 
somewhat near each other, a very pretty rosy-lipped, dark-eyed girl of 
eighteen or nineteen, and a young gentleman of as prepossessing aa 

12 THE commissioner; or, 

appearance as could be beheld; tall, well formed, graceful, witli a sort 
of frank and sparkling gaiety of expression in his countenance which 
won upon the beholder at first sight. The young gentleman rose as 
the master of tlie house and his guest entered, drawing a little farther 
from the fair lady in the first place, while the colour mounted slightly 
into her cheek. Thus, while the old philosopher introduced the chevalier 
to his daughter, Laura and their cousin, Harry Worrel, Mr. de Luna- 
tico could not help seeing in prospect matrimony and wedding rings, 
and a long line of grandchildren frisking round the knees of his worthy 
host. He, on his part, seemed perfectly contented with his daughter 
and his cousin, and the whole world; and in the expansive satisfaction 
of his own heart, he passed a high eulogium upon his new guest; 
speaking of him as a distinguished philosopher upon a voyage of disco- 
very for the benefit of his native country. 

It is impossible to describe the kindness and civility with which the 
two young people received the Chevalier de Lunatico ; and the clear- 
sightedness which he possessed, by virtue of his lunar ointment, showed 
him all their feelings, and made them open their whole hearts to him 
whenever they had an opportunity of conversing with him apart. He 
found, as he was led to suppose from the very first sight, that they 
were desperately in love with each other ; but it proved that they were 
not a little afraid the young lady's father should discover their passion, 
as they both agreed — it seemed to the chevalier very mireasonably — 
that he would certainly oppose their marriage. 

They took the opportunity of informing their new acquaintance of 
all this, while the old gentleman was out of the room for a moment; but 
Mr. de Lunatico laughed at their fears, saying it was quite evident that 
her father perceived their love, and destiiied them for each other. He 
could induce neither of them to believe him in this respect, and at 
length to quiet their apprehensions ; he told them he would speak with 
Mr. Longmore on the subject, for so was the philosopher called. 

"He will discover to me his whole feelings," said the chevalier, 
trusting to his extraordinary powers. "He will discover to me his 
whole feelings without the slightest reserve, and you shall hear the 

Thereupon they both besought him most earnestly on the contrary 
not to say a word to that gentleman. "If he were to discover it," they 
said, "he would separate us from each other immediately, and never 
suffer us to meet any more. This is always the case with fathers in 
our country : they lead their children to fall in love, and then are angry. 
As it is, we are very happy, and dread losing the blessing we possess." 

The chevalier reassured them, by saying that he would not in any 
degree betray them, but would only induce Mr. Longmore to open 
his mind with regard to his daughter, and to the views he entertained 
for her future fate. 

"But, do you think he will tell you?" demanded the young lady; 
" he is very secret and reserved upon every subject since the other man 
stole a star from him." 

Mr. de Lunatico was proceeding to inquire what tliis extraordi- 


nary charge could mean, when the philosopher's step, which was 
somewhat creaky, was heard coming along the passage, and his daughter 
replied, " Ask him, ask him, he will tell you all about it." " Dear papa," 
she continued eagerly, as her father entered, "do tell the chevalier 
how that abominable man stole the star from you !" 

" Ah ! that was a scandalous act," cried the old gentleman, setting 
down a bottle of very particular old wine, which he had gone to the cellar 
to fetch himself, in order to do honour to the chevalier's arrival. " It's 
a fact, upon my honour, sir, he stole my star from me, my very best 
star, just in the middle of Orion's belly. He was a Frenchman, sir, 
the natural born enemy of all Englishmen, and I ought to have known 
better than to trust lum; but, with the foolish good humour of our 
nation, I wished to show him every sort of civility, and took him into 
my observatory, where I had just been writing down, for transmission 
to the Royal Societ)^, the account of my having discovered a new star 
in the belly of Orion just a quarter of a degree below his belt. It was 
the most beautiful star that ever was seen, sir, not bigger than the 
point of the finest needle, even when viewed through my new thirty- 
foot telescope, which I invented for the express purpose of magnifying 
the fixed stars. Sir, it was a delightful star. It would have handed 
my name down to posterity with a brightness that would have eclipsed 
that of Newton himself. Yes, sir, yes, it would have made my name 
immortal ; for it having pleased Providence only to give me a daughter, 
I intended in some sort to adopt it as a son, and call it Jerry Longmore — 
why should it not bear my name as well as the Georgium Sidus that of 
Herschell ? But that French villain, sir, while I was called away for 
a moment to diminish the intensity of the galvanic ciu-rents which 
were tlireateuing to set the house on fire, cribbed, pocketted, filched my 
notes from the table, made an excuse to get off as fast as possible, 
travelled post night and day till he arrived in Paris, and it being 
cloudy weather, before I could repeat my observations, find out my star 
again, and send my notes to London, he had published the whole 
account, declared he discovered it himself, and called it by his own 
villanous name of Tirlupin, by which it will be known to all posterity 
— Tirlupin ou le nombril d^ Irion ! Such is the beastly name by which 
it now goes in the French catalogues."* 

The chevalier condoled with the old gentleman upon the loss he 
had sustained, and inquired whether there were not some court in Europe 
to which such offences could be referred. 

" Posterity, sir, posterity t" said Mr. Longmore ; " posterity is the 
only court to which we can appeal ; but alack and a-well-a-day, we 
cannot wait for its decisions. Slow justice, chevalier, slow justice ia 

* To guard against all mistakes here and hereafter, the editor of the Travels 
of the Chevalier de Lunatico begs to state, upon the authority of the chevalier 
himself, that not one word contained in this work has the slightest personal refe- 
rence to any individual now living. Therefore, if there should be any gentlemau 
of the name of Tirlupin in the world, he is assured that his cognomea has onljr 
been adopted to cover a generalization. 

14 THE commissioner; or, 

that court ; but still it is some satisfaction to think that it will do right 
in the end, and that perhaps my star will be called Jerry Longmore 
after all." 

The poor gentleman was so moved by his own injuries, and so touched 
by Mr. de Lunatico's condolence, that as soon as supper was set upon the 
table he began to ply the bottle heartily, and before an hour was over 
was decidedly in a condition to discover many more new stars. At 
length, however, finding things become somewhat confused before his 
sight, he caused the chevalier to be conducted to the chamber assigned 
to him; and his little portmanteau having been brought in, the lunar 
commissioner sat down to consider upon the whole, whether the good 
old philosopher had merited his billet or not. He resolved, however, 
not to be too rash, and retiring to bed fell sound asleep. 

The first beams of the morning sun stealing through a little round 
hole which had been left in the window shutters, woke the chevalier on 
the following morning, and dressing himself as speedily as possible, he 
descended to the garden, where he found the good old gentleman as fresh 
and hearty as ever, propping up the stems of some sweet peas, 
and apparently enjoying his garden as much as he had done his 

"I think," he said, after the first salutations were over, "I think I 
was a little tipsy last night. It was not my day either, so that it was 
all in honour of yoiu* arrival." 

"Pray, Mr. Longmore," demanded the chevalier, "have you then a 
particular day for getting drunk?" 

"No, sir, no," replied the philosopher, "not exactly drunk, that is 
a harsh word — Fuddled, sir, a leetle fuddled, perhaps — tipsee-ish, 
nothing more. Many ancient philosophers and physicians have recom- 
mended us to deviate a little from sobriety from time to time, and as 
we should always be regular even in our irregularities, I make a point 
of going to bed comfortable, as I term it, every Thursday regularly. 
I have continued to do so to the great benefit of my health, mental and 
corporeal, for the last fifty years, and I see no reason why I should 
not do so for fifty years more." 

"May I ask," said the chevalier drily, "how long people usually live 
in your country ?* 

"Why, about seventy years," replied the philosopher; "but I have 
passed that period, and in the constitution of the human body, the bones, 
the muscles, the fibres, the nerves, the blood vessels, the glands, the 
fluids, and membranes of which it is composed, I see no principle of 
inherent decay which should prevent the human machine, if properly 
sheltered, protected, and regulated, from going on for ever." 

The chevalier put his hand in his pocket, but curiosity to hear some- 
thing more of his companion's views, restrained him from delivering at 
once the billet to which he thought Mr. Longmore had now established 
an indubitable title. That gentleman went on, however, as is the way 
with men, to argue so reasonably in regard to his unreasonable expec- 
tations, that he soon staggered Mr. de Lunatico in his purpose. He 
contended that what had been, might be ; he cited a whole host of old 


gentlemen, called Methuselah, Lamech, Cainan, Mahalaleel, old Jen- 
kins, and old Parr, who had lived a great deal longer than he had 
proposed to himself; and he contended that it was entirely man's own 
fault, either by diet, passion, folly, or fear, that made him die at all 
before he liked it. "Man, sir, man," he said, "is not a candle, which 
being lighted at the top, burns down to the bottom, and then goes out 
with a stink in the socket. On the contrary, there is not one cause to 
be discovered in the construction of our external frame, nor one motive 
in all that we know of the soul, nor any reason in the combination of 
the two for supposing that I, who now stand here before you, may 
not be just as much alive and comfortable a hundred years hence, 
about which period of life Methuselah begat Lamech, as I am at this 
moment. But, there I see through the open window, Laura has come 
down to make breakfast, and we must soon go in and join her." 

"As soon as ever you please, sir," replied the chevalier; "for she 
seems to me a very charming creature." 

" She is a very good specimen of the particular class of animal to 
which she belongs," replied Mr. Longmore. " The most perfect of the 
mammalia. I am somewhat proud of my daughter, sir ; for besides 
being able to comprehend and appreciate the wonderful discoveries in 
science which have been made by your humble servant, she has also 
a tender and affectionate heart, and what between my instructions, and 
the marriage which she is likely soon to enter into, there can be no 
doubt of her being perfectly happy." 

"1 am glad to hear you intend to marry her early," replied the 
chevalier briefly, wishing to let him develope his own purposes, which 
Mr. de Lunatico knew he would do in consequence of the powers that 
had been given him by the Minister for Strange Affairs. 

" Oh, that I shall do, certainly," answered Mr. Longmore. " Every 
woman, sir, has a right to be married. It is a necessity of their nature. 
Taking a husband is to them, in the summer-day of life, no more than 
taking a breakfast. They have an appetite for matrimony, and those 
who do not marry may be said to starve. One of our poets has 
declared that man was not made to live alone. I am not quite sure 
that he is right, but right he would have been if he had spoken of 
woman. They always want something to lean upon ; they are climbing 
plants, my dear chevalier, and I intend ere three weeks be over to put 
a husband down by the side of my daughter, just as I have stuck in 
a stick by the side of those sweet peas — a very apt simile. Ha, ha, 
ha ! and the old gentleman laughed heartily, and with great aj)parent 

" Pray, Mr. Longmore," said the chevalier, " if it be not an imper- 
tinent question, who is the happy man that is to act the part of pea- 
stick on this occasion ? I think I can guess, but I should like much 
to hear it from your own lips." 

The philosopher smiled complacently, and then replied to Mr. de 
Lunatico's horror and astonishment, — 

" 1 don't think you can divine ; lor I rather believe you never saw 
him in your life. It is the Honourable Henry Frederick Augustus 


Fitzurse — which, being interpreted, means * son of a bear' — the only 
child of my near neighbour, Viscount Outrun." 

The chevalier's heart felt for his two young friends ; for to tell the 
reader the truth, he had contrived slyly to let fall a few drops of his 
sympathetic fluid into the first glass of wine he had drank with them ; 
and from that moment felt a degree of interest in all their affairs, 
which was quite marvellous. It struck him, however, that as soon as 
the good old philosopher discovered which way his daughter's inclina- 
tions ran, he would immediately change his purposes. It was evident 
that her happiness was his grand object ; he was a man of sense and 
discrimination too, and not likely to be led away by any vain imagi- 
nations, except philosophical ones ; and Mr. de Lunatico, therefore, 
ventured to put a few more questions to him, in order to ascertain 
whether the Honourable Henry Frederick Augustus Fitzurse possessed 
such high qualities, corporeal and intellectual, as could balance the 
great advantage of his young friend Worrel, in possessing the fair 
Laura's heart. 

" Pray, Mr. Longmore," said he, " is this young man a very virtu- 
ous one or a very learned one, a distinguished soldier, an accom- 
plished gentleman, a skilful statesman, or a great philosopher ?" 

His companion hesitated, and the chevalier could see that he was 
very unwilling to reply to his questions ; but the powers of his eye- 
salve were not to be resisted ; and being forced to tell all, Mr. Long- 
more replied, — 

" To say the truth, chevalier, he is not very famous for his virtue ; 
- lie seduced the miller's daughter, and then threw her away like a worn 
garment, so that the poor girl drowned herself in the dam. Then he 
intrigued with the attorney's vnfe, was prosecuted, and forced to pay 
damages by her husband, who, immediately after the trial was over, 
took her back to live with him, and gave her a smart new pelisse out 
of the money. No ; I can't say he is ve-ry virtuous. As to his learn- 
ing, I believe he can read and write ; but I don't think much more — 
he is a peer's son, you know. And then again, in respect to his being 
a distinguished soldier, he did distinguish himself at the last great 
battle, but it was by running away. He is what we call an accom- 
plished gentleman, however, now-a-days ; for he smokes an immense 
number of cigars ; can spit farther through his teeth than his own 
groom ; has cheated a veterinary surgeon in selling a horse ; can drive 
a tandem to perfection ; and ride, drink, swear, and frighten women 
and children, with any man in the United Kingdoms." 

" Then, pray, my dear sir," demanded the chevalier, in as quiet 
a tone as he could possibly assume, " what is your motive for bestow- 
ing your daughter upon this unpleasant young gentleman ?" 

" She will be a peeress," said the old man, in a low tone ; " she will 
be a peeress I" 

" But, suppose she would rather not," said Mr. de Lunatico. 

" She shall, by ," cried the philosopher, with a very unpliilo- 

sophical oath. " Good Heaven ! when I have been striving and 
labouring for her happiness, and am now ready to settle all that I have. 


on earth upon her, and to pay off the mortgage upon the Outrun 
estate, and to do every thing in the world for her ! If the girl Avcre 
mad enough to say a word against what I propose, I would cast her 
off for ever." 

Tlie old gentleman by this time had worked himself into such a 
passion, that the chevalier saw it would be useless to reason with 
him; for he had remarked in the moon and elsewhere, that there is 
nothing which makes people so angry, as to find that other people can 
be happy in a different way from that which they propose. Mr. de 
Lunatico once thought indeed of interrupting all the old gentleman's 
schemes, by giving him his summons to another sphere ; but then the 
wish to see how things would go, and the positive prohibition which 
had been laid upon him in regard to using the powers with which he 
was invested, to influence the ordinary course of human affairs, induced 
him to pause ; when just at that moment, Lam-a put her beautiful 
little head out of the window, and summoned them to the breakfast- 
room, where the chevalier found that poor young Worrel had taken 
his place, and was enjoying his dream of happiness, unconscious of 
the fate that was preparing for him. 

C. — NO. I. 











The morning passed pleasantly, the clear freshness of an English 
breakfast, the bright looks of Laura and lier lover, the brown toast, 
t!ie new laid eggs, the fragrant coffee, to say nothing of some excellent 
broiled ham kept hot mider a silver cover, and some golden honey in a 
crystal jar, all tended to reconcile the Chevalier de Lunatico to the 
planet in Avhich he was destined to make a temporary sojourn, and 
make him comprehend the inducements which lead so many spirits 
astray from the kingdom of the moon. Although the house of the 
philosopher was a very comfortable residence, yet reflecting that busi- 
ness must be thought of before pleasure, and judging from their 
conversation of that morning that there could be very little doubt as 
to which world good Mr. Longmore belonged to, the chevalier, on second 
thoughts, proposed to give him his billet for the moon as soon after 
breakfast as possible, and to proceed on his way without further delay. 
Before the meal was over, however, the old gentleman w as led into a dis- 
cussion concerning the effects of virtue and vice on human happiness ; 
and so shrewdly did he argue, so sensibly did he reason, so eloquently 
did he prove that " Health consists in temperance alone, and Peace, oh 
"Virtue ! Peace is all thine own," that the chevalier began again to 
doubt whether a man who was so wise in some respects must not be 
right in others also, and whether constituted as the earth is, it might 
not be really better to marry a daughter to a coward, a drunkard, a 
debaucliee, and a fool, rather than to a sensible, affectionate, high-spirited 
young man, when the one had a title, and the other had none. Mr. de 
Lunatico was certainly at this period unacquainted with the common 
])ractices of our world, otherwise he would have had no doubt upon the 
matter. He resolved, however, to inquire farther, and after breakfast, 
Mr. Longmore pressed his hand kindly, saying, " You must not think 
of quitting us for a day or two, although I must leave you under the 
rare of my daughter, and our young cousin, Worrel, for I must now 
go to my observatory to examine these terrible spots in the sun. I 
would im ite you, chevalier, to give me your assistance, but after the 
sad loss I sustained, I took an oath that no foreigner should ever enter 


the (ibservatory again. In you, my dear sir, I have the most profound 
confidence, as you are well aware, but my oalli must not be broken.'* 

The chevalier put his mind at ease by begging hirn to make no 
excuses, as he could have given him no assistance in regard to the sun, 
having confined himself entirely to another sphere. 

When Mr. Longmore had retired, the chevalier found himself in 
the very awkward position of a companion of two lovers. I never 
could discover why, the number three has always been looked upon as 
a lucky one by astrologers in olden times, and housemaids and pea- 
sant girls in our own. It is evidently also considered as something 
fine, in the constitutions of states, it is reverenced by magistrates, 
it is the gauge of the congregation, and wherever we turn we find 
number three making himself as busy and important as a new 
made member of parliament ; and yet, after all, there are few 
situations more uncomfortable than being number three, when two 
is quite company enough. The chevalier, however, was, as the 
reader well knows, very peculiarly circumstanced, and, in fact, was 
not half so much in the way as any one else might have been. The 
confidence which he inspired, at the very first sight, had its eflfects upon 
tlie lovers as well as upon all others. Laura said in her own heart 
that she did not care at all about being made love to in his presence, 
and Harry Worrel vowed that it was a matter of moonshine to him 
whether the chevalier saw all their proceedings or not. Such being 
the case, the chevalier made himself comfortable, and entering, as he 
did, into all the feelings, thoughts, and wishes of the fair Laura and 
her lover, he began a somewhat interesting conversation with them 
concerning their futiu"e fate. 

Let it not be supposed, however, that although he did sympa- 
thise with all their sensations, he was not without a great deal of 
surprise at the phenomenon of love, and set himself seriously to 
consider whether it was, or was not in itself a species of lunacy. 
" Here are two beings," he said to himself, " composed of bundles of 
fibres, disposed artfully around a jointed framework of earthenware, and 
covered over with a soft, sleek, pretty coloured tegument, ornamented 
with a glossy, curling, vegetable substance, called hair, and united 
w ith a peculiar sort of spirit, differing so little from our own spirits in 
the moon, and those of other planets, that it is difficult to distinguish 
the one from the other. These beings see each other, and because one 
happens to have a diflTerent shaped patch of red, or black, or blue 
from the rest of their fellow-creatures, or because the vegetable 
happens to curl a different way, or the wind instrument, with which 
they are furnished for making an intelligible noise, chances to have a 
particular tone, they become so desirous of living all their lives to- 
gether, that if they are not permitted to do so, they will be quite ready 
to take means for reducing their soul-case to its original elements- 
All this is very curious, it must be confessed — I will watch the process." 

" Come, chevalier," cried Laura, just at that moment, " put on your 
hat, and come out v ith Henry and me, — we will take you a long walk 
through the country, and siiow you every thing that is pretty round 


The chevalier very willingly complied, and while Laura, lianging 
on Worrel's arm, led the way through shady lanes and through green 
fields, he went on Avith his examination of that strange, but sweet 
thing, love, and could not but own, as he saw the mutual glance of 
warm affection, the playful smile that spoke the heart's passion without 
words, the long sigh drawn in the fulness of happiness, and perceived 
how love, like the bee, extracts honey from every object that it 
passes — he could not but own, I say, that, however strange, it is very 
delightful. There was a simplicity and a truth in the lovers too, that 
to his eyes, who could see their hearts, gave a sort of a holy bright- 
ness to their affection. Their confidence in eacli other seemed to beget 
a confidence in all around them, in their own happiness, in natiure, in 
man, in God ; and wandering on together, plucking flowers from the 
banks, pausing to look into this calm sweet glen, or over that wide 
dazzling prospect, listening to the song of the birds, or scenting the 
fresh dawning air, it was evident that they expected their life to be 
like that summer day's walk where tranquil enjoyment and peaceful 
variety awaited them at every step. 

The chevalier resolved, though forbidden to use any of the greater 
powers he possessed, to exert himself to the utmost in every other way 
to promote the happiness of the lovers. " I can surely persuade the 
old gentleman," he said to himself, " to a better view of this affair." — 
But the chevalier little knew how obstinate a father can be when his 
daughter's happiness is concerned. All the gentlemen of antiquity, 
who sacrificed, or ever thought of sacrificing, their daughters, from 
Jeptha to Agamemnon, are nothing to a modern papa, with rank, 
fortune, or fashion, as the idol before him. 

However that may be, the Chevalier de Lunatico, Laura, and 
Worrel, like every other being, lunar or terrestrial, reckoned without 
their host. Tlie learned and disputatious reader may perhaps stop 
me here, and inquire, who is the host, that we so frequently reckon 
without ; who spoils the account of misers when they look upon their 
treasure, and think that they will possess it for ever; of lovers when 
they gaze upon their mistress, and think that a few hours shall place 
her in their arms ; of conquerors, when they scan the bloody field, and 
say, " but one step more to a throne " In all these cases, truly there is 
a dark and awful host that mocks our estimate, and brings in a very 
different bill against us. That host is. Fate! 

The walking party had just passed through a broad sandy road, 
that led straight through a wood to a brow of a hill, and were gazing 
over the fair forest scene, Avith a blue distance of fields, and hills, and 
villages beyond, when a servant on horseback, in a splendid livery, 
galloped up, and put a note into Harry Worrel's hand. He opened it 
and read, and a peculiar expression came over his countenance, a look 
of anxious thoughtfulness, which at once made the Chevalier de Lu- 
natico perceive that something was the matter. The fair Laura also 
appeared to have some suspicion that the note was not of a pleasant 
kind, for she asked him, laughingly, what it was about, adding some- 
thing in regard to woman's curiosity. 


*' Notliing, Laura, nothing," replied Harry Worrel, putting it into 
his pocket : " an invitation to a ball at Outrun Castle." 

" Oil! we shall have a card, too," said Laura; "but I certainly shall 
not go. I detest that Henry Frederick Fitzurse." 

"I don't think you will be invited," said Worrel, gravely: "you 
have shown your dislike to him very plainly, Laura." 

The conversation there dropped, and the chevalier and his friends 
took their way back towards the house. They had contrived, how- 
ever, to spend more than four hours in their ramble, by the time they 
reached home, and the fair Laura, complaining that her pretty little 
feet were tired, went in to rest herself, while Worrel and the chevalier 
took a turn together in the garden. 

" And now, my young friend," said Mr. de Lunatico, " what were 
the contents of that note ? I must entreat you to let me know, for I 
feel very sure that it contained no invitation to a ball." 

" To a pistol ball," said Worrell, gravely : " and I really do not 
know where to seek a friend upon the occasion. My cousin, Mr. 
Longmore, is out of the question in such a business as this, and you, 
my dear chevalier " 

"Will be very happy to assist you," he replied, interrupting his 
companion. " You know we people of the moon are the greatest 
duellists in the universe, and sooner or later we have every man that 
lights another upon tliis earth sent up, by warrant, to take his place in 
the lunatic world. That, however, is not exactly my object in offering 
to accompany you ; that object I will explain afterwards ; but, in the 
first place, tell me, what is the cause of quarrel assigned by your 
honourable opponent, or has he any quarrel witli you at all ?" 

" None whatever," replied Worrel. " He simply demands that I 
should give up all claim to the hand of Laura Longmore, cease to 
visit at her father's house for the next six months, and quit this part 
of the country, or fight him without further delay. Now, as I 
certainly shall not resign my claim upon Laura's hand till I resign 
my life, I suppose I must give him the meeting he requires ; though, 
heaven knows, if he was to shoot me to-morrow, there is no chance of 
his obtaining Laura, for she herself detests him ; and I have often 
heard Mr. Longmore himself say, that he is puzzled to know whether 
Henry Fitzurse is most knave, fool, or debauchee. Fight him, how- 
ever, I must." 

" Oh ! certainly, certainly," said the chevalier ; " upon the very 
most approved principles of society, which, by a general and invariable 
law, gives every blackguard, villain, scoundrel, knave, and ass, a right 
to fire one or two pistol-shots at any good and exemplary man whom 
he chooses to call upon, while that man has the great compensation of 
firing at him ngain in return, if he thinks fit to do so — though perhaps 
he may look upon it as murder. Oh, say not a word more ; I know 
all about duelling ; we have a space put apart for that species of 
amusement in tlie moon." 

" You are very severe," said Henry Worrel ; " and I abhor the 
practice as much as you can do ; but I see not how it can be avoided^ 

22 THE COMMtSStOS^Eft ; oit, 

either in my omhi, or in many other instances. You would not, surely, 
have me give up Laura at tlie wild bullying of this Henry Fitzurse !" 

" Oh, no," replied the chevalier, " that is quite impossible ; but I 
think, on the contrary, that there is a very good chance of your 
making him give her up." 

" How so ?" demanded Worrel, eagerly. " Though I care not much 
whether he gives her up or not, for her father would certainly never 
marry her to such an animal as that." 

It was very evident, from the tone in which he spoke, that Worrel 
did not feel quite so certain of the matter as his words implied ; and 
the Chevalier de Lunatico thought it right to undeceive him alto- 
gether. No words can express the poor young man's despair when he 
heard the purposes of Mr. Longmore ; but the chevalier comforted him 
in some degree by saying : — 

" I have a plan for you, my good young friend, by which, as I told 
you, we may perhaps, drive this Fitzurse out of the field. 1 hear he 
is a desperate coward, and his sending you such an insolent letter only 
shows that such is the case. Show yourself more ready to fight him 
than he is to fight you : write him, this very night, an answer, telling 
him that you will not bear such conduct for a single day : appoint the 
meeting for the earliest possible hour to-morrow morning, and tell him 
that he or you do- not quit the field alive. I think I could take upon 
myself to say, that he will instantly attempt to -withdraw his cartel : 
and, as I will bear your note to him, I will give him the opportmiity 
of so doing, upon condition that he quits the pursuit of the fair Laura 
for ever." 

Harry Worrel looked down upon the ground for a moment or two 
in silence. He was as brave as any man need be — as ready to front 
danger and death, when needful, as any man in Europe. He knew 
also, that it is w^ell to do a disagreeable thing, when it must be 
done, as speedily as possible : so that his judgment told him the plan 
proposed by his dear, new-found friend was the very best that could 
be devised : yet there was something in the idea of so speedily parting 
with the bright things of life, of leaving perhaps but one anxious 
night between him and fate — of parting, in a few short hours, very 
likely for ever, with the dear being w ho had become the charm of his 
existence: there was something in all this, I say, that made him 
thoughtful. His mind, however, w\as soon made up ; and, as the 
human heart is but a bit of cork upon the top of the waves of life, 
now tossed up, now sinking down, but never going to the bottom 
altogether, his heart rose the next instant, and he proceeded to act 
upon the suggestion of the chevalier, having very good reason to know 
that those who calculated upon his opponent's cowardice w ere not likely 
to be far astray. The whole matter was now soon settled : the 
day was by this time wearing towards the evening, and it was agreed 
that the chevalier and his young friend should ride over together that 
night to a small village, near Outrun Castle, as if intending to make 
an expedition to some curious old Koman remains on the following 
morning ; that the chevalier shoidd carry Harry Worrell's note from 



the village that night, and tliat tljey should wait at the small inn at 
the place till the proposed meeting of the following morning, in 
case the result of Mr. de Lunatico's plan was not such as they antici- 

Mr. I.ongmore, as the reader knows, had his own peculiar habits, 
and amongst others was that of dining at half-past four o'clock pre- 
cisely, in which vicious practice he had indulged for at least thirty 
years. Great was the uneasiness that this occasioned at various times ; 
for, although we have invented steam-kitchens, we have not yet, alas ! 
been able to invent steam-cooks. Mr. Longmore regulated his clocks 
by the sun every day ; but, alas ! he could not regulate the tenants of 
the kitchen. Sometimes the dinner would be five minutes too soon, 
sometimes it would be five minutes too late, and sometimes the cook's 
thumb held back the march cf old time upon the face of the dial, by 
a dexterous application to the longer of those two wandering hands, 
which, very nmch like the course of human knowledge, are always 
moving on from hour to hour, yet never getting any farther from the one 
central point to which they are fixed down. This event — and it was not 
unfrequent — both annoyed and puzzled the old philosopher. He had 
the best clocks and watches in Europe, and yet there was something 
in the atmosphere of the kitchen which made the finest piece of me- 
chanism that ever was invented go wrong as soon as it got there. 
Such was the case on the present day : diimer was not on the table for 
a full cprarter of an hour after half-past four by Mr. Longmore's own 
chronometer. The cook appealed to her clock, the clock justified the 
cook, and Mr. Longmore, in a state of considerable excitement, cried 
" Pish !" at the fish, " Pshaw !" at the soup, and was only restored to 
equanimity by the sight of a venison pasty, the inner parts of which 
were a present from Outrun park. It was with some difficulty, then, 
that a favourable moment was found for communicating to the old gen- 
tleman the proposed expedition of Harry Worrel and the chevalier to the 
Koman remains, in the neighbourhood of Outrun Castle, and when it 
was done Mr. Longmore looked surprised, and Laura surprised, and 
not well satisfied. The good philosopher, however, soon made up his 
mind to the matter, agreed that early in the morning was the best 
time to see the ruins, regretted gi-eatly that he could not be of the 
party, wdiich was impossible, as he had a little afi'air with the sun about 
that time, but ofiered, for the chevalier's use, his own neat cantering 
cob galloway, which, like every thing else that he possessed, was, in 
Mr. Longmore's estimation, the best thing of its kind in the world. 
This being settled, the pony saddled and brought round, and a parting 
glass drank to the success of their expedition, the chevalier and his 
young friend took leave to depart. Laura shook hands with them 
both, but the Chevalier de Lunatico thought that he perceived in her 
countenance an expression somewhat sad and reproachful as she bade 
hei" lover adieu. He saw at once that she had suspicions that their 
errand Mas not that which it seemed. However, as no man ever yet 
considered tlie feelings of liis wife, the situation of his children, the 
lia])pines3, or even the existence of any of his friends or de[)cndents, 

24 thj: commissioner ; or, 

or, in short, any other such minor and unimportant matters, when 
he was going to yield to the fashion of the workl, Harry Worrel tore 
himself away with as comfortable an air as he could assume, and 
mounting his own horse, Avhile Mr. de Lunatico bestrode the round, 
cantering, cob galloway of good Mr. Longmore, they set off at a quiet 
pace, in the cool calmness of a fine spring evening. 

For a couple of miles they were very silent, but at length the che^ a- 
lier, always having the end of his perquisitions in view, thought fit to 
address a few questions to his companion ; inquiring in the first place, 
in a quiet, easy tone, whether he went upon this affair with tlie 
most comfortable feelings in the world. 

" Not exactly," answered Harry Worrel, with that peculiar sort of can- 
dour which the chevalier engendered in all with whom he was brought 
in contact. " In the first place, my dear chevalier, I look upon duelling 
as criminal, as foolish, and as blackguard. 1 wouldn't tell any body 
but you for the world that such are my opinions, and I shall certainly 
take care on all occasions to make every body believe that I go to fight 
my man as quietly as I sit down to eat my dinner ; and that I look 
upon the practice as absolutely necessary to society, for the purpose of 
giving every man, who is injured or insulted, a sort of ultima ratio to 
whicli there is no reply. In the next place, I dont like the idea of 
being killed at all, and, do what I will to prevent it, the thought of a 
nasty, hard bullet coming and sticking into me like a piece of hot iron, 
will present itself to my imagination. Nevertheless, as I have tolerably 
good nerves, not very easily shaken, that will never prevent me from 
going out with an unpleasant friend. The thing that is most disagree- 
able to me, is, I confess, the thought of killing a fellow creature in cold 
blood. I know and feel, and am perfectly aware, that 1 am just as 
much committing a murder as if I cut a man's throat in his bed, and 
ought to be hanged for it too, only, thank God, we have plenty of jury- 
men in England, who are quite ready to perjure themselves whenever 
a gentleman thinks fit to shoot another through the head, and to find 
liim not guilty, though, if a poor man had done it, driven by starva- 
tion, they would hang him as high as Haman. Thus I am sure of 
immunity in this world ; and, as to the next, Macbeth says : — 

If the assassination 

Could trammel up the consequences, and catch 
With this surcease, success ; that but this Llow 
Might be the be-all, and the end-all here — 
But here upon this bank and shoal of time — 
We'd jump the world to come." 

Besides, this sort of murder, unlike all others, is punished by the 
world, if we do not commit it, and not if we do. So now, my dear 
chevalier, having told you all I think upon this subject, let us change 
the topic, for on my life it isn't a pleasant one, and 1 would rather 
think of something else." 

" With all my heart," said the chevalier, muttering to himself. " He 
won't quite do for the moon. But pray tell me, good Mr. Worrel, what 


is ygur relationship to worthy Mr. Longmore ? I have heard from cer- 
tain persons that a body of lunatics, a good many years ago enacted a 
code of la^vs, by which cousuis to the third or fouilh degree, were 
forbidden from marrying." 

" Oh, we have changed all that," said Harry Worrel. " In our 
country we did away with all the prohibitions in regard to marrying 
near relations, except, exactly brothers and sisters, uncles and nieces, 
grandmothers and grandsons ; but in pure opposition to the Bible we 
have retained strictly the prohibition in regard to a widow marrying 
her brother-in-law, or a man marrying his dead wife's sister, though 
the latter is the most natural marriage in the world, and one which 
is likely to prove the happiest for the first wife's children, if she leave 

The obstacle, between Laura and myself, my dear sir, is want of 
rank and fortune, on my part ; and poor Laura and I both fear, when 
we give ourselves time to think of it, that this obstacle will never be 
removed ; for good Mr. Longmore, not\vithstanding all his philosophy, 
has so great a reverence for wealth and title, and so great a hatred for 
poverty and democracy, that I am afraid there is very little chance of 
obtaining his consent, unless I can obtain wealth and distinction in the 
first place." 

" You must try, my young friend, you must try," said the chevalier ; 
" and, perhaps, if you were to make up your mind to quit your fair 
Laura for a month or two, and go on a tour with me, you might have 
opportunities of looking about you, which you will not easily find 
under other circumstances. Tliink of it, think of it ; and now go on 
with yoiu* story." 

" I have no story to tell," replied Harry, " or at least a very short 
one. My father was nephew to good Mr. Longmore, who did not marry 
till late in life, and being determined, as he thought, not to marry at 
all, he engaged my parent to quit the bar, at which he was practising 
with some success, in London, and come down and stay with him, in- 
tending to make him his heir. Scarcely, however, had my father been 
here tliree years, when Mr. Longmore, as gentlemen of fifty-five will 
sometimes do, thought fit to fall in love with a girl of twenty, married 
her, and in due time was the father of my sweet Laura. Not being 
in v.-ant of an heir any longer, he did not know well what to do with my 
father, whose prospects at the bar were spoiled. He obtained for him, 
therefore, the agency of the castle Outrun estates, in the neigh- 
boiuhood of which both my parents were born ; but at the end of 
five or six years, my father died, and my mother was left with but a very 
small income. My uncle, however, who was an oflEicer in the army, 
assisted her as far as his means would permit, though his own fortune 
was very limited. He was extremely kind to us as long as he lived, 
and many a time do I remember him coming down, holding me in his 
arms like a second father, and loading me with little presents and toys. 
But my poor uncle was killed at the last gi-eat battle, and though he 
left to my mother and myself all his little property, to the amount of 
about two hundi'ed a year, it did not at all console us for his loss." 

26 The commissioner ; or, 

" And is your motlier still living ?" demanded the chevalier. 

" No," replied Worrell, in a grave tone, " I am alone." 

There was a degree of melancholy in his manner which struck the 
chevalier, and prevented him from proceeding ; for it must be recol- 
lected that the few drops which that gentleman had taken out of his 
phial, had taught him at once to sympathise with Harry Worrell and 
Laura ; and he found his condition very unpleasant in consequence. 
Every man has enough to do with his own griefs, and should not 
meddle with other people's ; and thus the Chevalier de Lunatico now 
discovered that he had done a very foolish act in dabbling with sym- 
pathy at all. 

" I will never do it again as long as 1 live," said the chevalier. 

But the chevalier's resolutions were like other men's, as the reader 
■will see before he gets to the end of the history. However that may 
be, the two jogged on in silence beside one another for a distance and 
a time that would have killed a Frenchman ; and as they did so, the 
universe began to put on its gray dressing-gown, previous to the 
world's going to bed. The figure may seem a strange one, and cer- 
tainly is not so pretty as that of Shakespeare, when he says — 

" See when the morn in russet mantle clad 
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastern hill." 

But what I mean by it is, that the light began to forsake the sky, and 
all things around fell into the dusky hue of evening. 

At length, as they were passing a finger-post, where a road branched 
off" from that which they were pursuing, Harry Worrel renewed the 
conversation by saying, — 

" A few furlongs farther, and we are at the little inn, which is as 
comfortbale a one as any man could choose to pass a quiet evening in ; 
but, as you are destined for another ride to-night, my dear friend, pray, 
remark that road on the left ; for it takes you onward in a straiglit line 
to Outrun Castle. At the distance of about a mile, you will come to 
the wall of the park, which extends for nearly two miles along the road, 
without any break, gap, or interval, except the two gates ; the first of 
which is a large iron one, without any lodge, only opened upon great 
occasions. The other gate, about half a mile beyond, has a lodge, and 
there you will gain admittance. I tliink you had better set off very 
soon after we get to the inn, that we may take our measures according 
to your report." 

*' WVll wait till the moon is up," said the chevalier ; " I like to ride 
in the moonlight. It is an old habit of mine ; but in the meantime you 
have to write your letter, and you must think about the pistols, too." 

" I will send for them," replied Worrel ; " I have a pair belonging 
to my uncle ; and as to the letter, it will soon be written ; but the 
moon rises at nine o'clock, and that cannot be far off." 

All was pleasant, and if we may use the term, quiet bustle at the 
little inn, on the arrival of Harry Worrel and his companion. The 
former seemed well known to the landladv and to all the servants of the 

D£ liUNAtlCO I?JQIJtRENt)0. 27 

house ; and many were the respectful gratulations which he received, 
as he dismounted from his horse. The good hostess was a widow — ■ 
certainly past the prime of life — but still so fat, so fair, so rosy, 
and so smiling, with lips so pouting, eyes so bright, and hair so 
little mixed with gray, that what between her good looks, the repu- 
tation of having made her first husband very happy, and the certainty 
of her being well to do in the world, many a gay swain in the village 
and the neighbourhood had shown an unequivocal disposition to 
occupy the place which good Josiah Muggins had left vacant. — 
Mrs. Muggins, however, looked upon a husband as a piece of bed- 
room furniture that might very well be dispensed with by a lady in her 
fiftietli year; and, consequently, though she was kind and civil to 
every body, laughed with one, and jested with another, sold ale to all 
who would drink it, and gave away a good many trifles to the poor 
and needy, she showed herself much less liberal to her lovers ; would 
insist upon regarding all their sweet things as a joke ; and with a 
propriety whicli we recommend much to the consideration of all young 
ladies, never suffered any man to come to a declaration, being resolved 
not to accept him if he did. 

By this good dame, as we have said, was Harry Worrel not only 
civilly but affectionately received. 

" Lord bless you, dear life !" she said, " how happy I am to see 
you — what a time it is since you have been at the Half-Moon !" 

The Chevalier de Lunatico pricked up his ears ; but Mrs. Muggins 
proceeded, — 

" All your old friends will be so happy to see you, sir, if you stay 
a little while in the village. Here, Sally, get ready number two for 
Master Harry, and number three for the other gentleman ; I see they 
are come to stay. John Ostler, take round the gentlemen's horses. 
Lord bless you, sir, I know when gentlemen intend to stop the niglit 
with half an eye. Here, Joey Pike, show Master Harry into the little 
parlour. I have had a leotle bit of fire lighted in it, sir, this afternoon, 
to keep it wai-m, for the nights are still frosty. Joey Pike, I say, what 
do you stand there in an attitude for, thinking yourself the Polly of 
Belvidere ? Lord bless the lad I with his airs and graces. Be quick, I 

" Ah, Joey," cried Worrel, addressing a lad who was intended for 
a waiter, but who wiis decorated with a crimson velvet waistcoat, and 
a green silk handkercliief round his neck, " ah, Joey, have you come 
back into the country ? Why, I thought you had got a good place in 

" Yes, sir, I had," answered Joey Pike, in a sweet and lisping tone, 
and with a low and graceful bow ; " but my poor master was inclined to 
a consmnption, and recommended to Italian climes ; so I accompanied 
him, sir, to Naples — Bella Napoli, as tJiey call it — wliere he died 
under my hands. For tlie hist six weeks, sir, I fed him night and 
day with vollyvents and consummy, thinking to keep his strength up ; 
but he fell into a faiblessc^ as the French call it, and went from sing' 
cvpj^y to sinycuppi/y till he drew the last sigh ; and, to my infinite 


regret, expired. He left me ^vith a strong recommendation to his 
friends ; but I will never have a strong recommendation as long as I 
live again. It is the worst thing in the world, sir ; for they kept me on 
in London, always promising to get me a good place, until I was very 
nearly upon the ;j<2i;y, and never did any thing for me after all. I waited 
till I liad spent every thing but fourteen shillings and ninepence ; and 
then I said to myself, fourteen shillings is just the fair on the top of the 
diligence down to Outrun ; fivepence will get me a roll and a couple 
of red herrings, and with the fourpence that remains, I can say with 
the doctors, fiat haustus, which means, I am told, take a draught. 
Says I to myself, there's good Mrs. Muggins, a bong femme, if ever 
there was one," and he laid his hand vipon his heart, and bowed his 
head gracefully towards the landlady ; but she, on her part, cut him 
short, exclaiming, — 

" Hold your tongue, you fool, Joey, and show the gentlemen into 
the parlour. Will you keep them in the passage all night ?" 

"Madam, I will do it incessantly^'' replied Joey, and marching a 
step or two forward, he threw open the door with an exquisite wave of 
the hand, drew himself up, with his head a little leaning on the right 
side, and his feet in the fifth position, and suffering them to pass in, 
followed with the good landlady to ascertain their farther wants and 

" Nothing, thank you, Mrs. Muggins," replied Worrel to the lady's 
inquiries ; " nothing but some tea and toast, a pen and ink, and a 
few sheets of writing paper. Will you send in the tea made, Mrs. 

" For the paper I will be responsible," cried Joey Pike ; " where can 
the inky-ostro be ? I mean the inkstand, Mrs. Muggins, and quelle 
piume that I left here only this morning. . That's the barmaid's doing, 
Mrs. Muggins. She has taken them, I'll warrant. I'd teach her, if I 
were you, to feather her nest with other things than pens out of the 

" There they are you fool in the corner cupboard," said Mrs. 
Muggins. "Put them down qviick^ and then go out of the room. You 
only tease the gentlemen with your chattering and your scraps of lan- 
gviages not half so good as your own." 

Joey Pike drew himself up, " I am not accustomed to chatter, 
madam," he said, with an air of impressive dignity, " though on this 
occasion, my bonnhoor, at seeing Master Harry again so unexpectedly, 
may have increased my loquacity." 

Thus saying, he placed the inkstand and pens upon the table, waved 
Mrs. Muggins gracefully to precede him, and then with a motion 
somewhat like that of a cat stealing up to a bird, followed her out of 
the room, closing the door after him in the most noiseless possible 

The parlour was a low-roofed wainscotted chamber, with a fire-place, 
which, as that is not a coal district, was unconscious of any fuel but 
wood. The dark brown oak on the w alls, the mouldings and the cor- 
nices, though a little warped by the effect of many a drying summer's 


t^y/?^^' /V'U// /'' ^^•' 


sun, were all as neatly polished and varnished as possible. The floor 
and drugget that covered it were as clean as it is possible to conceive. 
The bright mahogany of the table reflected the light of the candles 
like a mirror ; and, in short, there -was an air of homely cheerfulness 
about the aspect of the whole chamber which made one feel very com- 
fortable in the enjoyment of life, and all life's blessings. It accorded 
ill with the feelings and purposes of Harry Worrel at that moment ; 
for though it is a very difficult thing to say where death is least unpa- 
latable, yet it certainly is not where we find om'selves very com- 
fortable in life. The Chevalier de Lunatico, however, had just time to 
stir the blazing pieces of wood on the hearth, and Harry Worrel to 
gaze round the well-known room, recalling the memories of many 
a pleasant day, when Joey Pike returned with a quire of paper, 
which he dropped delicately before the latter gentleman, maintaining 
the most profound silence, for the purpose of disproving Mrs. Muggins's 
charge of loquacity. 

The Chevalier de Limatico, however, seemed inclined to enter into 
conversation with him; for after telling him to see that his horse Mas 
not unsaddled, as he had another ride to take that night, he asked him 
what time the moon would be visible. Joey was seldom, if ever, found 
at fault ; and on this occasion he gave the chevalier an account of the 
very moment when the planet would rise, and when she would ai)pear 
above the neighbouring trees. " We had last night," he said, " a magnifi- 
cent dare de Loon, and I trust that the same will be the case to-night, 
for the sky is poorissimo" 

"I trust that it may be so," said the chevalier; "and so, my good 
fellow, you have been seeking a place?" 

"Yes, sir, yes," replied Joey, "I have been seeking what my Italian 
friends call a piazza, but I found none but the piazza of Covent-garden, 
which is certainly not the best place that any young man could find, 
especially when he is somewhat subject to the tender passion." 

"Joey, Joey," cried the voice of the landlady. " That chattering boy 
is teasing the gentlemen again — this will never do — I shall be obliged 
to get rid of him. Yet he is a clever boy, and a good one — I declare 1 do 
not know ^hat to do — Joey, Joey, I say." 

" Or//«no, Orffano" cried Joey, "she is an excellent woman, that 
Mrs. Muggins, a good, motherly, excellent person, but she cannot bear 
any person to talk but herself," and thus saying, he hurried out of the' 
room, leaving the chevalier to his own meditations, and Hd,rry Worrel 
to the composition of the letter, which he had already begun. 

The letter was soon -smtten, the chevalier mounted his horse and rode 
away, and Harry Worrel stood alone in the little parlour with his back to 
the Avood fire, which by this time had crackled itself to sleep, and was 
lying in glowing embers amidst white ashes on the hearth, like the 
cheerful light which sometimes remains to brighten a happy old age. 
His thoughts were of his father's house. It is difficult to tell why : but 
when any of those pauses take place which sometimes come in amidst 
the fiercest struggles and most striking events of life — one of those 

30 THE commissioner; or, 

pauses that occur between the purpose and the act, between the 
excited passion and the result — I know not why it is, but the mind 
always reverts to the cahii sweet liours of youth and boyhood, to the 
peaceful scenes in which our early days were past, to innocent enjoy- 
ments, pleasures that we can taste no longer, feelings that can be felt 
no more. Worrel's thoughts, I say, were of his father's liouse, which had 
been situated not far from the spot where he then stood, and under 
the influence of the moment, pageant-like visions of happy sports 
amidst the woods and fields around, the merry game, the quickly past 
sorrow, the fleeting cloud and the gay sunshine of infancy came up 
before the wand of the enchanter, Memory, as if to contrast themselves 
in their gliostly beauty with the eager wishes, and the fierce anxieties 
of manhood. 

He had not long indulged in this manner, when the door quietly 
opened, and in glided his good landlady with a lighter step than might 
have been anticipated from the ample volume of good things she 
bore about with her. 

" Beg pardon for intruding. Master Harry," she said ; " but I could 
not help coming in, now the other gentleman is gone, to say how glad 
I am to see you again — why it is full a twelvemonth since you have 
been here : I thought you had forgotten us all." 

" Oh, no," replied Harry Worrel, " I never forget old friends. 
Pray sit down, Mrs. Muggins, and pour me out another cup of tea. I 
shall like it the better if it comes from your hand." 

" Lord, Master Harry !" said the landlady, sitting down witli a sim- 
per, and a well pleased air. " However, many's the cup of tea I 
have made for you in other days, ay, and for the colonel too, and I 
should never wish to make tea for a nicer man." 

" He was here a great deal after my father's death," said Harry 

" Ay, and before too," said the landlady : " a very handsome man 
he \vas as ever I set eyes upon. I recollect him before you were born, 
Master Harry, and all the girls in the village were dying for him, and 
so were a great many others more in his own station, one in particular, 
but that was a sad story." 

" I never heard it," said Worrel, " what was that ?" 

" Why, did you never hear of Lady Maria falling in love with 
him ?" said the landlady ; " my lord's daughter here up at the castle, 
that is to say the old lord's daughter, and how they found her walk- 
ing secretly with him in the park, and the quarrel that took place, 
and the duel between your uncle and the present lord ? Why they 
fought in the lane between the two walls, and your uncle shot my 
lord, and left him for dead, and then Lady Maria was sent away for a 
long time, and it preyed upon her mind, poor thing, and she faded, 
just as one sees a flower do, when one plucks it and gives it no water. 
She never forgot her love, that she didn't, poor girl ; for I recollect, at 
length, when your father and mother came down — at the time ]\Tr. 
Longmore talked of making him his heir, and tliey stayed at this house 
with you, then a little boy — she came in suddenly one day to see 


them, but something was said, I suppose, that made her think of past 
times, for she fi\inted dead away, and I was called to help her. We 
could not bring her to for near an hoiu", and then she cried as if her 
heart would break, poor thing. So she was nearly two hours in the 
house altogether, and yet terribly afraid all the time that people should 
send to seek her. However, nothing came of it then, but she was ill 
at the time, and she got worse from that hour till she died.'* 

" Poor thing," said Harry Worrel, with feelings of affection and 
tenderness rising up in his heart for a being of whose existence he had 
not the slightest idea five minutes before. 

It is a strange tiling the human body, and a strange thing the hu- 
man mind, that a certain number of percussions of the air, produced 
by tlie lungs, and modulated by the glotis, epiglotis, tongue, teeth, and 
lips of the hostess, should make Worrel's bosom feel very queer, and his 
eyes to have a strong inclination to run over with tears, as if he had 
been a pump, and somebody had worked the handle. If man is a mere 
galvanic machine, as some philosophers believe, he is a very curious one 
— but somehow, I do not think that it is so. 

However that may be, it is high time to follow the other two pieces 
of mechanism, who were making their way on in the moonlight 
towards Outrun Castle, namely, the Chevalier de Lunatico and his horse. 
The cantering galloway proceeded at a quiet, comfortable pace, just as 
he had been accustomed to employ when carrying Mr. Longmore after 
a pair of slate-coloured greyhounds, before the hare, which they were 
destined to run after, had been found, poor thing, sitting in her plashy 
form ; and Mr. de Lunatico exceedingly comfortable both in the moon- 
sliine where he was quite in his element, and in rapid and easy motion, — 
which certainly is a thing that must be most agreeable to every one, except, 
perhaps, a tortoise, who objects to all velocity, and a frog, who loves to 
advance salthn, — went on considering the characters of the persons 
he had lately seen, and the best means of pursuing his investigations 
farther. After he had done with those subjects, he took to looking at 
the country, and could not help thinking it very like some of the scenes 
he liad beheld in his own sphere. The night was as beautiful a one 
as it was possible to see, and his way ran through a wooded lane. For 
some way it was fringed on either side by scrubby oaks — occasionally 
approaching close to the road, and narrowing it within two hedges — 
occasionally breakmg away and leaving a space of rugged ground with 
dingles, dells, and high banks, in which the moonlight and the dark 
shadow lay quietly side by side, like husband and wife joined together 
for life, a sort of Desdemona and Othello. At length, however, a good 
tall brick wall appeared, flanking the lane on the right hand, while 
a high bank rose on the- other side with a hedge running along the top 
for some way, which, after a certain extent again gave place to masonry, 
and another wall appeared with some hawthorn bushes and some 
brambles at its foot. 

Had the clievalier heard the landlady's story, he would have said 
to liimself, " Tiiis is the place where Colonel Worrel fought his 
sweetheiu-t's brother;" but as it was, he was unconscious of the 


interest of the scene, and he and his horse cantered on together 
without saying a word to each other. He had gone about half a mile 
between these two walls when suddenly a figure started out from the 
bushes we have talked of, caught hold of his bridle, put a pistol to his 
breast, and asked him for his money. As this is a commodity with 
which he had been plentifully supplied before he set out, and as he 
was well aware that all his expenses were to be paid, upon the same 
liberal scale as other diplomatists, whereas, a hole through his body was 
not likely to be amended without considerable difficulty, the chevalier 
put his hand in his pocket, pulled out a considerable handful, and be- 
stowed it upon the covetous stranger with the best grace in the world. 
His applicant, however, was not satisfied, but in a thundering tone of 
voice commanding him to stand as still as a stock-fish, in that exact 
spot, while he ran away. 

The chevalier neither assented nor dissented, but suffered the 
worthy gentleman to proceed about a hundred yards, and then fol- 
lowed him at a wary pace, fully resolved to see where he went to, 
but to keep a tolerable space of ground between them. The moon, 
most complacently, shone bright down the lane, so that the figure of 
the robber, who was a tall, stout, heavy man, was as clear and distinct 
as if it had been day light ; and the chevalier rode on perfectly certain 
of being able to trace him, especially as the walls soon became clear of 
all brushwood at the foot, and there seemed not the slightest possibility 
of escape. When the man with the pistols found that he was followed, 
he appeared very furious, paused, shouted, and held up his hand with a 
threatening gesture ; but as he halted, the chevalier halted — as he went 
on, the chevalier went on — and thus they had proceeded for about five 
hundred yards, when suddenly to Mr. de Lunatico's horror, surprise, 
and astonishment, the stout personage he was pursuing suddenly dis- 
appeared, as if he had been swallowed up by the earth. He now rode 
on in haste, but nothing could he discover of his fugitive friend, nor 
any possible means of escape. There were the great gates of the park, 
it is true, at no great distance, but they consisted of nothing but a tall 
grating of iron, over which it was impossible to climb, and on shaking 
them with his hand the chevalier found that they were firmly locked. 







Not a little puzzled was Mr. de Lunatico. He paused, he considered, 
he turned the matter every possible way in his mind, and yet he could 
make nothing of it: and finding that such was positively the case, he 
wisely gave the matter up, and rode on. About a quarter of a mile 
in advance, the chevalier came to the lesser gates with the lodge 
attached, at which he had been told to apply, and ringing a large bell 
that presented itself to his hand on the right side, he was admitted in 
a minute by a rosy boy in a smock frock. The chevalier having 
entered, found himself in face of the lodge, the door of which was 
open, with a scene of comfortable peasant-life presented within, such 
as perhaps is not to be met with in any other country than England. 
The aspect was so pleasant and cheerful, that the chevalier dis- 
mounted from his horse, and went in not only to ask his way up to the 
house, but also to give notice of the robbery which had been com- 
mitted. He expected to find nothing but contentment and happiness, 
but in this he was mistaken. Tlie mastiff-like growl of the English 
peasant was not banished even there; and when he spoke to the 
man about the pleasant look of his cottage, and the comfortable life 
he must lead, the good fellow found half-a-dozen things to grumble at, 
and his wife chimed in with half-a-dozen more. When they heard of 
the robbery, however, they both shook their heads, exclaiming, " What, 
again? There have been a good many there, sir, lately, and nobody 
has ever been able to discover who does it, or how it is done. It had 
stopped for a fortnight, and so we thought the thing was over ; I am 
sorry it's begun again, for this, you see, is the chief road between 
Outrun and Market Greenford, and all the poor market-women will 
be losing their money as they come home of a night." 

" Let them all club together, and baste the villain heartily," said the 
Chevalier de Lunatico, or let them scratch his eyes out, or set him in 
the middle of them, and talk at him tiU he is dead. Twenty or thirty 
women could easily punish one man in various ways." 

" Ah, sir, but perhaps there are many of them," said the woman. 

" These are hard times, sir," said the man in a gruff" tone, " and drive 
many a poor fellow to take to the road. Would you like the boy to go 
up and show you the way to the house ?" he continued impatiently, for 
an English peasant soon has enough of talking to a gentleman ; and as 
he spoke, he retiu^ned with zeal and devotion to the toasting of his 

C KG. 2. D 

3-^ THE commissioner; or, 

bacon. The clievalier, however, having learned the way, declined the 
boy's assistance, and remoimting the cantering galloway, who had 
looked round several times to see if he was coming, he proceeded 
easily along the road which led towards Castle Outrun itself. He was 
in no hurry, it is true, to quit so fair a scene as that which spread 
around him, for the well-gravelled road lay amidst those wild expanses 
of green turf, occasional clunii^s of magnificent trees, wild hill sides 
covered with fern, deep, dingly dells, and from time to time, pieces of 
water, which characterize an English park, and the whole was silvered 
over with the brightest moonshine. Seen at that period of the nighty 
when the chevalier approached it, the mansion itself was certainly an 
imposing pile of building, consisting of large masses of stone-work 
in the castellated style, with small windows peeping out here and 
there, and a broad terrace spreading round. The moonlight was suffi- 
cient to show the grand features of the place, but none of the defects. 
Had the sun been there, grass growing amongst the gravel of the ter- 
race, stones falling from different parts of the building, windows broken 
and shut up, and many a sign of that decay which springs — not from 
age ansi the slow wearing hand of time — but from the tooth of the fell 
destroyer, neglect, would have been very apparent. Even as it was, the 
place ha4 any thing but a cheerful aspect ; from some windows in one 
wing, indeed, the shutters of which had not been closed, a glare of light 
was streaming forth ; but that did not much enliven a building the rest 
of which was all dark, giving it the look of a man with one eye. Sounds 
of laughter and merriment, however, were heard from within as the 
chevalier approached the door, but ceased at once as he pulled the bell 
rope, producinjg a long, loud peal in the empty hall. Two smart ser- 
vants, witli jjowdered heads and flaming liveries, soon after appeared, 
and in answer to the chevalier's demand for the Honourable Henry 
Frederick Augustus X^itzurse, said that he was stilj at dinner with the 
noble lor4 his father. "Pray, inform him," said the visitor, "tliat the 
Chevalier de Lunatico wishes to speak with him for a few minutes." 

The lackeys stared at him with an air that would have been very 
insolent, liad not Mr. de Lunatico's peculiar gifts produced a feeling of 
communicativeness in those two gentlemen which they could not at all 
resist. " He'll be precious unwilling to see you, unless he knows who 
you are, old chap," said one of them. 

"I dare say he'll think it is a bailiff," said the other; "but I can tell 
you, if you are, you have very little regard for your own skin to come 
down here." 

"Assure the honourable gentleman that I am no bailiff at all,'* 
replied the chevalier, "but merely a foreign gentleman travelling in 
this country, and happening accidentally to have a little important 
business to talk with him about." 

"Well, come in, come in," said one of the men. "John take care of 
this gentleman's horse for a minute. Come into this little room, old 
chap, and I'll tell Mr. Fitzurse in a minute." 

; " The man is drunk," thought the Chevalier de I>unatico, following 
into a small empty room on the opposite side of the haJl ; and though 
the term drunk? probably gavf an e^cigg€rate4 idea of the condition ©f 


the worthy domestic, certain it is, that his intellects were not in that 
perfect state of equilibrium which more frequently precedes than follows 
abundant potations. While the chevalier sat in meditative mood, the 
servant advanced through a certain long stone passage, with that pecu- 
liar gravity of step assumed by persons labouring under an impression, 
that it is very difficult to keep a straight line, and entering the dining- 
room, advanced to the place where Mr. Fitzurse was seated, and told 
him in a low and confidential tone, that a gentleman wanted to speak 
with him. 

" D — n him, let him wait," said Mr. Fitzurse, who was at that 
moment entombing the wing of an infant duck, " I know what it is. 
It's that business of Betsy Trollop." 

" No, sir," rejoined his servant, " it's not the overseer. It's a 
foreign gentleman, with a long funny name, which slipped away from 
me in tlie passage. Signor Mousetrappico, I think it was." 

" I'll bet you any money, Fitzurse," cried a good-looking, somewhat 
rosy fellow on the other side of the table, with black hair, black 
whiskers, black eyes, black eye-brows, and a black handkerchief 
round his neck, who had overheard all that had passed — " I'll bet you 
any money, Fitzurse, that it is Signor Musarcianciarelli." 

" Yes, sir, yes, that's just it," cried the lackey. 

" And who the devil is he ?" exclaimed Mr. Fitzurse. 

" Why, tlie man with the violet cream," replied his companion 
" that makes hair grow up in a couple of hours, like mustard 
and cress — very dangerous stuft", indeed. Did you not hear what 
happened to Lady Firebrand, the three-bottle woman ? Why, 
going out one day last winter, the frost caught her nose ; and before 
she got drunk that night, she told her maid to rub it well, after she was 
in bed, with chilblain ointment. The maid got drunk as well as her 
mistress, took Musarcianciarelli's violet cream, instead of the chilblain 
ointment ; and, horror of horrors, next morning my lady's nose was a 
complete bottle-brush, and the maid had a large camel's hair pencil at 
the end of each of her lingers. Lady Firebrand sent immediately for 
the man that shaves noses ; but the signor's violet cream beat him out 
of the field. The more he shaved, the more the hair grew ; till at 
length, as a last resom'ce, they determined to have it curled and 
pomatumed, and bring it in as a new fashion." 

" Ha, ha, ha !" shouted tlie Viscount Outrun, from the end of the 
table, " very good, very good, indeed. Bring in the signor, Joseph, 
we'll give him a glass of wine, and make him rebeaver all our old 

" Stay, stay !" shouted his son, " this is some trick, depend upon it. 
Shouldn't wonder if it were a bailiff. That fellow, Thomson, the 
saddler, swore he would have me. Tom Hamilton, there's a good 
fellow — do go and see. You ought to know a bailiff pretty well, I 
think." • . 

" That I should," answered Tom Hamilton, the gentleman ^ath 
the black hair aforesaid, " but it's after dark, Fitzurse ; he can't make 
a caption after dark, you know." 

" But it may be to serve me with some cursed process or another,** 


rejoined the scion of the noble house of Outrun ; " do go and see — 
there's a good fellow. Fish out of him what he wants, and then come 
and tell me." 

" If he's a bailiff, we'll horsepond him," said the peer ; "if he's a 
mere bmn, we'll give him to the pmnp. Tripe — where's Jeremy 

" Here, my lord," said a jolly stout butler, advancing from the 

" Madeira !" said the viscount, pointing to an empty decanter, 
" we'll drink your health, Tom, while you're gone." 

Tom Hamilton raised himself somewhat unwillingly from his chair, 
in which he had made himself very comfortable ; and following the 
footman, Joseph, he was led to the room in which the Chevalier de 
Lunatico had been left. There was something so very imbailiff-like 
in the whole appearance of the chevalier ; his legs were so much 
thinner, his stomach so much flatter, his eyes so much larger, and his 
teeth so much cleaner, than those of any bailiff in Europe, that Tom 
Hamilton at once saw that Mr. Fitzurse's suspicions were wrong. He 
was not dressed well enough, either, for a dancing-master, or a quack 
doctor, or a musician. His hair went up in a frill on the top of his 
head too, so that he could not be an independent parson, a Baptist 
missionary, or a seller of tracts ; and though past the prime of life, 
there was a sort of sparkling, moonshiny air about him altogether, 
which puzzled Tom Hamilton amazingly. " Pray, be seated, sir," said 
Tom Hamilton. 

" Have I the honour of speaking to the Honourable Mr. Fitzurse ?" 
said the chevalier. 

" Not exactly, sir," replied Tom, " but his friend." 

" Then, I suppose, sir," rejoined the chevalier, <• Mr. Fitzurse 
divines the cause of my coming, and that you are here to arrange the 

" Ho, ho 1" said Tom, Hamilton, " an affair of honour, I perceive. 
If that's the case, it makes a great difference. Pray, let us have the 
pleasure of your company at dinner, and we will discuss the matter 
over a glass of wine, when the servants are gone. Devilish good 
fellow, my friend Fitzurse," he continued, under the influence of the 
open-heartedness which the chevalier's presence always produced ; 
" devilish good fellow, but a little bit of a blackguard too. There 
are such things as good blackguards, and bad blackguards, you know, 
Mr. What's-your-name. Now, Fitzurse is a bad blackguard, I'm afraid. 
Why I keep company with him, I'm sure I don't know. His father 
gives good dinners, that's true. Capital shooting down here too, in 
the season, and some as good fi-shing, just now, as heart could desire. 
Ha ! are you a brother of the angle ? Bring the speckled fellows out 
of the stream, ha ? But come, let us finish our dinner, Mr. Whaf s- 

^' My name is the Chevalier de Lunatico," replied our friend, " and 
I dined before I came here. Nevertheless, I ^^•ill take a glass of wine 
with you, if it be good, which I doubt not. — The party will excuse my 
boots and my riding-dress " 


" By all means, by all means," cried Tom Hamilton, hastily, " no 
ceremonies upon such occasions, chevalier ; you are quite up to these 
sort of things, I see — seen a good many of them in your country, I 
dare say ?" 

" There are more of them amongst us than amongst any other 
people in the universe," said the chevalier, calmly : " but may I hint 
that we must not be long in making our arrangements ; for I 
must return to the village, m here I left my friend to get the pistols 
ready, and cast the bullets, and all that sort of thing." 

" Let us finish our dinner," said Tom Hamilton ; " pity your 
friend isn't here ; we could have settled it after dinner over the table. 
A capital measure of distance, a good long dining-table." 

" Yes," replied the chevalier, " before dinner, but not after it. 
People do not know rightly at what glass to stop, I have remarked ; 
and the consequence is, the table suffers, but nobody else. Better in 
the cool of the morning, my dear sir. However, 1 follow you with 
pleasure ; but we had better not speak of the matter at all, while the 
servants are in the room, lest it take wind ; merely introduce me as 
the Chevalier de Lunatico ; we can broach the subject afterwards." 

This being arranged, Tom Hamilton led the way back to the dining- 
room, introducing the Chevalier de Lmiatico. It was a large, wide, 
old-fashioned chamber, lined with dark oak, which reflected no ray of 
light. At one end, between two pillars, was the beaufet, covered with 
a sufficient array of plate ; and down the middle was a table, which 
would have dined four-and-twenty people, with covers laid for three 
only ; namely, the viscount, his son, and Tom Hamilton. There was 
plenty of light upon the table, near the end of which the party was 
congregated, and likewise on the sideboard, behind the master of the 
house. There was plenty of dinner also, arrayed in what the poet 
sublimely calls " a regular confusion," and plenty of wine, moreover, 
with very evident symptoms of a good deal having been already 
drunk. These particulars were gained at a single glance ; but the eye 
of the chevalier rested with more deliberate inquiry upon the faces of 
the two gentlemen whom he found seated at the table ; and the first 
coimtenance he scrutinized was that of the viscount. He was a tall, 
large man, of about sixty, with very black eyes, which perhaps might 
have been fine ones in their day. His face was very red, and very 
blotchy ; and the eyes, the corners of the mouth, and the wings of 
the nose had manifold scarlet lines running about them, which spoke 
of potations deep and strong. His hair was whitish, his whiskers thin 
and poor, and his long eyebrows, as pure as snow, overhung the poppy 
garden of his countenance, like a pent-house thatch covered with snow. 
The two lower buttons of his waistcoat, and one in the waistband of 
his breeches, were undone, showing a part of his shirt, and easing the 
protuberance of his stomach ; and at the moment the chevalier entered, 
he was carving some dish before him in a very slashing manner, scat- 
tering the sauce over the table-cloth, without any very great reverence 
for its purity. The son was not so tall as his father, and was alto- 
gether a very disagreeable looking personage. He was inclined to be 
fat, though not extremely so at that moment. His countenance was 

%% THE coMmtppioner ; 0% 

white and pasty, with eyes much like a sheep in shape and expression, 
thick lips, a good deal of curly whey-coloured whisker, and white 
ill-regulated hair. There was an aifectation of groomishness about 
his dress, which was carried to the pitch of having a leathern string 
to his watch ; and there was an uneasy conceit in his countenance, 
which told that he thought not a little of himself, and was afraid of 
other people not thinking so much. At the same time, there was a 
shy averting of the eye when any one gazed at him stedfastly, super- 
adding to the rest of his beauties a sharper-like look, which was all 
that was necessary to complete the perfections of his countenance. 
He was a large hipped man withal, though his legs were longish ; and 
this peculiar formation put him into unpleasant attitudes, both when 
he sat and when he walked. Having been introduced to both father 
and son by Tom Hamilton, the chevalier shook hands with the peer, 
who held out a great broad paw to him for that purpose, and took a 
seat between him and the said Tom, facing the hopeful heir of 
Outrun Castle. 

" What will you take, chevalier ?" exclaimed the viscount. " First 
of all, a glass of wine with me — Hermitage ? No — champagne ? — 
Tripe, Jeremy Tripe, champagne to the chevalier." 

The butler reached the champagne from a cooler in the middle of 
the table, and over Mr. de Lunatico's shoulder poured forth a glass of 
creaming wine. Something, Heaven knows what, caused our good 
friend to turn round his head, and fix his eyes upon the face of Jeremy 
Tripe, when he beheld in the very butler of the noble lord, the iden- 
tical person who, three quarters of an hour before, had taken his 
money on the highway. 





.The learned reader may conceive the astonishment of the Chevalier 
de Lunatico, on discovering the fact with which we just concluded the 
last chapter, though why we did conclude the last chapter there, we 
will leave to future ages to determine, as there is no apparent reason 
for it whatsoever, except that we might employ a spare note of ad- 
miration, and leave time for every one to stare. The worthy 
Ijutler, however, to resume the thread of our discourse, seemed very 
much less affected by the meeting than the chevalier himself, and bend- 
ing down his head as he poured out the wine, he whispered—" Don't 


say a word, and I'll tell you all about it by-and-by ;" being moved 
to such an act of confidence by the chevalier's peculiar powers. 

In the meanwhile tlie peer, and the peer's son, and Tom Hamilton 
together had all fixed their eyes upon the chevalier, and had remarked 
his look of amazement. 

" Why, what the devil is he staring at Jerry Tripe for?'* cried the 

" Do you see anything very peculiar in the butler, Master Musarsian- 
ciarelb' ?" asked the peer's son. 

" He's afraid of being set on fire," said Tom Hamilton across the 
table in a low tone. " What between Tripe's nose close at his ear on 
one side, and your father's face on the other, he must be Chabert 
himself to stand it." 

" There is a slight mistake/' said the chevalier, addressing Mr. Fitz- 
urse ; " my name is not Musarsianciarelli, my name is Lunatico, at 
your service. May I inquire who the gentleman is that rejoices in the 
epithet which we all pronounce with such difficulty ?" 

" He's an improvisatore," said Tom Hamilton, laughing ; " produces 
poetical whiskers upon any given cheek, and extemporises a wig in five 

" Come, come," cried the peer, " this is all loss of time. Get some 
soup for the chevalier, and a hot plate ; give me the mint sauce, and a 
slice out of that lamb. We'll teach you good feeding in England, 
chevalier, ay, and good deep drinking too. Taste that Madeira, taste 
that JMadeira ! — Sherry ? What's sheiTy worth, in comparison w ith 
good Madeira ? Why, that wine had been twice to the East Indies 
when I got it ; but not satisfied with that, I sent it roimd Cape Horn. 
A Spanish Don in the new world oft'ered its weight in dollars for every 
pipe of it, but I wouldn't part with a bottle, and there it is ; — taste 
it, taste it." 

" A fine string of them !" said Mr. Fitzurse, in a whisper to Tom 
Hamilton, and the latter bringing his mouth nearer to the esar of Mr. 
de Lunatico, informed him that his friend the peer had a certain 
propensity to what the great poet calls " a lie with a circumstance I" 
" I see, I see," replied the chevalier ; "that is very apparent. Never- 
theless, the Madeira is very good, the lie, if one could believe it, 
would not make it any the better." 

The chevalier persisted in his determination not to eat any thing, and 
drank a great deal less than the peer thought proper, but his lordship 
made up for all deficiencies, and, to say truth, neither Tom Hamilton 
nor the Honourable Henry Frederick Augustus Fitzurse were at all 
backward upon the occasion. Tom, indeed, looked at his friend from 
time to time with certain sort of misgivings as to his encomitering a 
friend with a pistol in h s hand as resolutely as he did one with a 
decanter, and in order that he might show as little white featherism 
as possible in the preliminaries, he plied him with wine during 
dinner, v.liispering to the chevalier, in a confidential manner — " I 

believe he's a d — d coward at heart. 1 have heard something of 

tlie kind, but we must bring him to the scratch anyhow." 

" That depends upon yourselves," replied the chevalier drily ; *< and 


besides, it is an old proverb in my country, tliat you may bring a horse 
to the water, but cannot make him drink, and I suppose it is the same 
Avith what you call the scratch ?" 

" Not exactly, not exactly," answered Tom Hamilton. " Once get 
a man there, and he's sure to fire one way or another. There is a sort 
of inevitable twitching about the forefinger which always pulls the 
trigger sooner or later: sometimes too soon indeed, for I knew a 
fellow, who in a great fright shot himself through the broad of his 
foot, brought on lockjaw and died, all from fear of being shot by 

another man But, thank Heaven, that cursed butler is taking away. 

We shall soon have the claret and the anchovies, and then we can 
settle the preliminaries over the bottle." 

" But the young gentleman's father," said Mr. de Lunatico. " Accord- 
ing to the most approved practice in my country, when one gentleman 
has an inclination to kill another in what is called an honourable 
manner, two friends are selected, one on either side, who are, of 
course, the two persons in all the universe most likely to promote 
bloodshed, and the greatest care is taken to keep the matter a secret 
from every one who either out of regard for one or other of the 
parties, from respect for the law, or from possessing a few grains of 
common sense, is likely to sooth angry spirits and reconcile the ad- 
versaries. I think decidedly that we should get the peer out of the 

" Not at all, not at all," said Tom Hamilton. " He's our trump- 
card, man ! Without him Fitzurse would never fight. They have 
divided a certain portion of courage between them ; but they did it by 
lot, I think, and all that was serviceable fell to the father." 

" What the devil are those two fellows whispering about ?" inquired 
the peer, who for the last moment or two had been dividing between his 
son and the butler some important conversation regarding magnums of 
claret and bottles of tokay, and had just ended the discussion by 
saying — " Bring a bottle of the port ninety-one ! Give the old 
boy an anchovy. Tripe." 

The butler accordingly performed his office, and the chevalier swal- 
lowed a portion of the fish, which he declared to be very salt and 
rather unpleasant. 

" But it is for the Wy-en" drawled the Honourable Henry Fre- 
derick Augustus. " You could never drink your wy-en without an 
anchovy, Signor Sublimatico, — at least not so well !" 

" Then it is for the purpose of creating an appetite before you 
gratify it," said the chevalier, " that you eat these animals." 

Mr. Fitzurse replied — " To be sure we do — very natural too. Did 
not the Romans take a vomit, that they might be able to eat two 
dinners ? For my part, if I thought that anchovies would make me 
relish another bottle, I'd eat a whole keg!" 

By this time the little fishes had been handed round, the wine placed 
upon the table, and the butler, after certain ceremonies appertaining 
to his place, withdrew and left the party alone. Tom Hamilton touched 
the arm of the chevalier, the latter drew forth Worrel's letter, and 
stretching across the table, handed it to the son of the peer. 


" Why, what the devil's this ?" cried Mr. Fitzurse. *' Is it a beg- 
ging letter ?'' 

" Or the prospectus of some grand discovery ?'* said the peer, 

" Or a subscription-list for building a church ?** demanded the son. 

" Or an invitation to join the society for the suppression of vice ?" 
shouted the peer, roaring with merriment. 

" Is it from Wilberforce, or the Archbishop of Canterbiu'y, or Martin 
of Galway ?" demanded the son. 

" Or Lord Brougham, or Macauley, or Cox Savory, or Van Butchel ?" 
cried the peer. 

" No," answered the Chevalier de Lunatico, with a placid smile and 
a courteous inclination of the head ; " it is from a young friend of 
mine, named Harry Worrel ; to request that the Honourable Mr. 
Fitzurse will appoint any place of meeting to-morrow, at half-past 
five, for the purpose of settling certain differences between them — it 
being Mr. Worrel's determination, not to quit the ground alive, unless 
those differences are settled." 

"A challenge, by jingo," cried the peer, laughing more heartily 
than ever. " Well, Freddy, my boy, we'll have a blaze at him." 

But the Honourable Henry Frederick Augustus Fitzurse did not 
secra to view the matter in the same light as his father. He turned very 
white in the gills, bluish about the lips ; his eyes got fish-like and glassy, 
and Tom Hamilton started up, exclaiming, " He's fainted to a dead 

" Fainted !'* cried the peer. " No, by ! he's drunk — that's what 

he is — I'll soon sober him," and pouring out a tumbler-full of water, 
he dashed the whole unceremoniously in his son's face. The first ap- 
plication not succeeding, he repeated it, exclaiming, " Fred, you're 

drunk, d me, you're drunk, and here you've got to fight a duel 

to-morrow morning ! — Well, it does not signify, Mr. Prismatico, or 
whatever your cursed absurd name may be. Be so good as to present 
my compliments to your friend, Mr. Harry Worrel, and tell him, that 
my son will have the honour of meeting him in the narrow lane, that 
runs under the park-wall, to-morrow morning. He will know the 
place well — we will have it half-way between the park-gates and the 
village, that whoever comes down, may not have far to go. He shall 
meet him; and d me, if he doesn't, I'll meet him myself 1" 

" You will excuse me, my lord," said the Chevalier de Lunatico, 
** but I do not think that would exactly answer the purpose ; I never 
heard of such a thing being done by deputy : and in the present in- 
stance, as the quarrel is about a lady, it would be quite inadmissi- 
ble. If yom* son does not appear upon the ground himself, I must 
withdraw my party." 

" Oh, he shall come, sir, he shall come," cried the peer. " You don't 
suppose he's afraid. He's drunk, sir ; I tell you, he's only di'imk. 
Why, sir, we had drunk three bottles of champagne before you came 
in. I understand all about it — half-past five o'clock — the lane under 
the park-wall — half-way between the gates and the village. His father 
shot me just there, and I do not see why ray son should not shoot him 
He's a good shot, always was a good shot — hey, Tom Hamilton 1" 


*' Devilish good, mj^ lord," cried Tom Hamilton, " with a gun ; 
don't know his pistol capacities, but dare say lie'll do. Come, cheva- 
lier, this business settled, I'll Just say a word or two to you in the next 
room, and then w^e won't detain you." 

The chevalier accordingly made his bow and retired, accompanied 
by Tom Hamilton, who, as soon as the door was closed, shrugged his 
shoulders, saying, 

" A pretty job this, to be sure !'* 

" Why, your friend brought it upon himself,'* said the chevalier ; 
" he wrote a very impertinent letter this morning " 

" Well, the thing's done, and can't be helped," cried Tom Hamilton. 
" The old gentleman will bring him to the ground — that's clear ; I 

suppose we must cork him up with brandy. I say, chevalier, d 

me, tell yom* friend not to kill him — wing him, man, wing him — sad 
thing for me, if he were killed. He's a devilish good fellow, though 
an infernal blackguard, I must own ; but there's capital shooting down 
here, in the season, and the fishing's excellent.'* 





While one of the servants went round to the stables, to bring up the 
cantering Galloway, and the Chevalier de Lunatico stood upon the 
steps of the house, enjoying the beams of his own sweet planet as 
much as any of the Chloes of Mr. Moore's lyrics, he was joined by no 
less a person than Jerry Tripe himself, who approached with a 
courteous salutation of " No offence, I hope, sir ; but I cannot be mis- 
taken in supposing you the gentleman with whom I exchanged a few 
words in the lane, an hour or two ago." 

" If I had had a pistol," replied Mr. de Lunatico, " we should have 
exchanged shots, Signer Tripe !" 

" No, that we shouldn't, sir," replied the butler ; *' for whatever 
you might have given me out of your pistol, there was nothing in mine 
to return !" 

" Very singular !" said the chevalier. " I should think you w^ell de- 
served a ticket for St. Luke's, my good friend, if you really mean to 
say, that when you incurred all the risk of such an exploit, you left 
yourself without the means of defence, when it could not cost you the 
twentieth part of a farthing to buy a bullet for your pistol. ^ Wliy, su-, 
you must be a lunatic \" 


♦' Not at all, sir, not at all," replied the butler. ** You call it an 
exploit — I say, it is but a frolic ; and if I should be caught, the frolic 
is proved by my having no shot in my pistol. I have a friend, and a 
fellow-servant in the family here, who is ready to swear any thing I like, 
and will prove any night in the week, that I have a bet with him, to 
take a purse in the lane, all for the sake of ^frolic /" 

" Tliere must be very strange law in your country," said the cheva- 
lier, " if they tolerate such frolics as that. Master Tripe." 

" That may be, sir," answered the butler; "but I can tell you, they 
tolerate frolics ten times worse every day. It matters little to you 
if you lose a pound or two — but many a woman has been frightened to 
death ; many a poor girl ruined, body and soul ; many an honest man 
lost his life, all for the sake of an honourable gentleman's frolic !" 

" And pray, how does the law deal with such frolics and person- 
ages ?" asked Mr. de Lunatico. 

" Fines them five shillings," replied the butler, " and discharges 
tliem, with a warning not to do so any more." 

" You are a very lenient people," said the Chevalier de Lunatico. 

" Very," said the butler, " to vice in high station. But here comes 
yoiU" honour's horse ; so I won't detain you any longer, but will wish 
you a pleasant ride, and may you meet with no fresh solicitor upon 
the king's high-way." 

The Chevalier de Lunatico, perfectly satisfied with this explanation, 
mounted his steed and rode away ; and as we will not trouble the 
reader with any more of the picturesque, we will land him at once at 
the door of the Half Moon, in the little village of Outrun, where he 
was received by Joey Pike, in the attitude of the Apollo Belvidere ; 
only, that instead of a bow, which the Delphic god is supposed to 
have been armed with, the renowned Joey held in his right hand a 

" Here, here ! ostler, ostler !" he cried, " presto, presto, take the 
gentleman's cheval. Allow me, monsignore, to conduct you into the 
camera, Avhere Signer Worrel is waiting for you ;" and he accordingly 
led the chevalier forward with his usual tiptoe step, finding a way 
peculiarly his own of opening tlie parlour-door, and beaming upon 
the chevalier, as he passed, a smile of inefiiible sweetness and self- 
satisfaction. At the same time he asked, " Is there any thing farther 
for yoiu* service, sir ; I shall be delighted to accomplish yoiu: 

Having said this as a mere matter of courtesy, Joey was about to 
retire, with his right hand thurst into the bosom of his velvet waist- 
coat, when the chevalier stopped him saying — 

" Stop a moment. Master Pike ; I think you are in search of a place. 
Is it not so ? and you are only upon the books of the landlady here as 
a sort of supernumerary." 

" A punto^ a punto, signer, I mean to say, precisement" replied 
Joey Pike. " I am here, sir, as it were, in an intermediate state ; in fact, 
wliat my friend the famous naturalist, Mr. Winken de Worde, used 
to call a pupa ; that is to say, something between a caterpillar and a 

44 THK commissioneh ; or, 

" He meant a puppy, Joey," said Harry Worrell, who, to tell the 
truth, was somewhat impatient to know tlie result of the chevalier's 
visit to Outrun castle, " and I dare say Mrs. Muggins will be very glad 
to get rid of 3'ou." 

" She will be extasiee, I have no doubt, sir," replied Joey. " She 
is a marvellously good woman, but has an eye to tlie dinari. Conse- 
quently, as she considers me more ornamental than useful, I doubt not 
she will be glad when I kiss her hand upon taking my cong^ey 

'* Well then," said the chevalier, " what wages do you demand, 
Master Pike ?" 

" Sir," replied Joey — whose intention was to say what a more homely 
man would have couched in the words, "whatever your honour 
pleases" — " Sir, I was never avare. I will take quanta, your worship 
thinks tantor 

" Well then," replied the chevalier, " go and settle the matter with 
your present mistress, and consider yourself my servant from this 

Joey laid his hand upon his heart, bent his head till his chin 
touched his breast, swept back with two fingers the hair that had fallen 
over his forehead, and with a look of conscious importance, took his 
departure from the room. 

" We shall want some one with us to-morrow," said the chevalier, 
" to carry the pistols and all that sort of thing." 

" Then it is all settled," said Worrel, who had listened with a look 
of some anxiety. " Well, the matter having come to this, nothing 
remains but to carry it through with spirit. I would rather have 
avoided it had it been possible ; but such not being the case, we must 
make the best of it. There is the case of pistols, chevalier, we must 
see that they are in good order. Here, I have written a letter to 
Laura, in case of the worst, which you must take care of, and deliver it 
to her with your own hand." 

" Pooh ! there will be no occasion for that," said the chevalier ; " the 
fellow fainted at the very sight of your cartel, and though they may 
screw him up to come to the ground, I will answer for it, that when he 
is there, he will not be able to hit a haystack at ten yards — and yet, 
this is to be a man of honour and of courage !" 

The rest of that night's affairs were soon settled ; the chevalier, 
who seemed an experienced hand at such things, sent his friend to bed 
early, and calling Joey Pike into the room, gave him an intimation of 
the business they were to be engaged in on the following day. The 
news threw Joey into a state of nervous excitement, which produced 
innumerable new airs and graces of person, so that he seemed an Egyp- 
tian dancing girl, a Turkish dervise, a performer upon the slack rope, 
and Fanny EUsler all combined, such were the contortions, the atti- 
tudes, and the positions into which he twisted himself. Let it be 
understood by the learned reader, that his convulsive graces were pro- 
duced by no dislike to the business in which he was to take a part ; but 
the vast importance which he gained in his own eyes, by having any 
share in a real duel — a positive affair of blood and murder — worked 
Upon his excitable imagination to such a degree, that step by step he 


fancied himself, first a second, then a principal, called it mentally " our 
duel," and d ew visionary comparisons between liimself, Godfrey of 
Bouillon, Scipio Africanus, Quintus Curiius, and Tippoo Saib. It 
is well that the throne of the Indies was not before him at that moment, 
or he would have j umped into it and sat down. So great was his opinion 
of his own capacity that he would have undertaken to rule Europe for 
half-a-crown. That he might not be a moment later than the time in 
calling the chevalier and Mr. Worrel, he sat upon the stairs all night, 
with the pistol-case underneath him ; and when he fell asleep for half- 
an-hour, he dreamed that he was some very great man indeed, but 
whether it was the Duke of Wellington or Marshal Blucher, Ude or 
Doctor Morrison, he could not well tell. He started up, however, 
with the clock striking four, and creeping quietly up a step or two 
higher, knocked first at the door of Mr. Worrel, and then at that of the 
chevalier. The latter put out his head immediately, saying in a low 
voice, " Two cups of warm coffee, Joey, and two or three slices of dry 
toast ; but take IMr Worrell up some water first — the man that fights 
unshaved is lost !" 

Just as the clock was striking five, the Chevalier de Lunatico, with 
the tip of his nose rather blue from the chill freshness of the morning, 
Harry Worrell, looking firm and grave, and marching with an upright 
carriage and a calm step, and Joey Pike carrying the pistols on tiptoes, 
as if he was afraid of alarming the mice in the cellars as they passed, 
took their way down the road that ran through the village of Outrun, 
passed the house of the sexton and clerk, skirted the wall of the church- 
yard, over which the young gentleman took a look at his father's grave, 
and then turning into the lane which led towards the castle, walked on 
with a deliberate step towards the place of rendezvous. At first there 
was very little light in the sky, and the morning was still grey when 
they arrived at the spot, which, by the nicest calculation, the chevalier 
looked upon as the middle term between the village and the mansion. 

" Five minutes before our time, my dear sir," said the chevalier ; 
" but on all occasions it is better to be too soon than too late. Let us 
walk on a little, we shall find them coming, and it is well to keep the 
blood circulating ; the wall too, comes a little close upon us here ; 
scarcely gives a man a fair chance. There's a wider spot out beyond 
there, that will suit our purpose better. Joey," he continued, when 
they had reached the spot, "put down the case by those bushes; open 
it, rub the flints with a piece of leather, to take off all moisture, and see 
that all the rest of the apparatus be ready. Be sure that the necks be 
taken clean off the balls, and that each be as round as a marble." 

" I will do my impossible to satisfy you, sir," said Joey ; and the^ 
Chevalier de Lunatico, telling him that his possible would be quite 
enough, took Worrell by the arm and walked some fifty or sixty yards 
forward and back again ; then took another turn, and then another, 
but still nob-ody appeared, and Worrel looked at his watch. 

" I shouldn't wonder if they did not come," said the chevalier ; " as 
he was taken with a fainting fit last night, he has perhaps been troubled 
with hysterics this morning." 

" No," said Worrel, " here they are !" and sure enough, there was 

46 THE commissioner; oh, 

seen approacliing a party consisting of the tliree following personages — ■ 
Tlie Honourable Henry Frederick Augustus Fitzurse, with steps that 
did not seem the most steady in the world, and with a white emetic- 
looking face, appeared between the other two ; on one side of liim 
was Tom Hamilton, supporting him under the arm with his left hand, 
and carrying a case of pistols with the other, while on the left of the 
peer's son, appeared a no less important personage than Jerry Tripe, 
loaded with his own particular arms, in the shape of two large green 
glass bottles. A wine-glass peeped from a pocket of the waistcoat 
which covered his capacious stomach, and with his right shoulder he 
ever and anon nudged on his honourable young master. As soon as 
they came in sight of the opposite party, which was at the distance of 
about three hundred yards, they stopped, bringing their three heads 
together in the form of a triangle, and Worrel and the chevalier could 
perceive that the glass was withdrawn from the butler's pocket, and 
having been filled with part of the contents of one of the bottles, was 
handed to the principal personage concerned, who drank off the con- 
tents, and held it out for another. This operation seemed to restore 
him some degree of energy, for he advanced more briskly than before, 
and the two parties were soon within a short distance of each other 

" Good morning, Mr. Fitzurse, good morning, Mr. Hamilton," said 
the chevalier with his usual courtesy. 

" Devilish cold," said Mr. Fitzurse with a hiccup, " ain't it, Worrel? 
Take a drop of summut short. Here, Tripe, pour him out some lusli." 

" Hush, sir, hush," said Tripe, almost singeing the honourable gentle- 
man's whiskers, by bringing his nose close to his ear. " You forget, 
sir, you are to be sober — quite sober. You've got to fight, you know." 

" Fight, fight !" said Mr. Fitzurse, turning a very blank look upon his 
counsellor, and then a sharper one at Worrel, and seeming gradually 
to awake to a consciousness of his situation. " Fight, fight ! Ay, so 
I have, upon my honour ;" and the conviction seemed to him any thing 
but a pleasant one, for his teeth began to chatter, and his knees to 
shake most desperately. In the meanwhile W^orrell stood at some dis- 
tance, close to his own pistol-case, and Tom Hamilton and the chevalier 
had retired a step or two towards the side of the park, to consult in 
regard of their proceedings, when suddenly a head was popped up over 
the wall, covered with a large crimson velvet night-cap, which looked 
dim compared to the face beneath it, and the voice of the viscount ex- 
claimed, *' Now, Freddy, my boy, d n me, have at him !" 

'* My lord, my lord," cried Tom Hamilton, in a tone of serious re- 
monstrance, " you promised me you would not " 

But before the first word was well out of his mouth, the viscount's 
head had disappeared, and the chevalier and Mr. Hamilton proceeded 
with their arrangements. 

" I am afraid, sir," said Mr. de Lunatico, " that your friend is not 
in a very fit state to fight." 

" It is the only state that he ever will fight in," said Tom Hamilton 
decidedly; " it is not my doing, however, it was the peer and the butler 
settled it between them. However, it is no business of ours, wears 
here for a specifie purpose, and I think w© had better measure the 


The chevalier bowed, and twelve small paces were accordingly 
measured out. The pistols were crammed, and some little conversation 
was taking place with regard to the time and method of firing, when 
suddenly the red night-cap and the redder face appeared once more above 

the wall, exclaiming, " D me, what are you all about ? Do you 

mean to be all day ?" and as soon as the words were pronounced, the 
vision disappeared again. 

" Very irregular this, sir," said Mr. de Lunatico. 

" Very," said Tom Hamilton, " but it can't be helped ; the peer will 
have his own way, and " 

" There is excellent fishing and shooting down here ! ' said the 

" Capital," replied Tom Hamilton, " and to tell you the truth that's 
the reason I stand more than I otherwise would. But what is one to 
do now with this drunken cowardly beast ?" he continued, looking signi- 
ficantly toward the Honourable Henry Frederick Augustus ; " wiiat 
between brandy and fear, if I take away the butler, who, you see, is 
holding him up with his shoulder, he will be down to a certainty." 

" You would not like to go the butler too, I suppose ?" said the 

" Why, / should personally have no objection," said Tom Hamilton, 
"though he miglit. But really we must go to business some way." 
■ " I think you will find your friend quite sober now," said the che- 
valier, "fear and drunkenness can't live in the same house together — the 
one kills the other. But, as you say, it is time to begin, or we shall hav^ 
the red night-cap up again. I will place my man, and you must do the 
best you can." 

Thus saying, he moved away to the spot where Worrel had stood 
during that expectant five minutes which is, perhaps, the most unpleasant 
period of any man's whole life. The pistol was soon placed in his 
hand, and the chevalier, with a word or two of scientific direction, left 
him, and took his stand near the bushes, where Joey Pike had remained 
striding over the pistol-case in the attitude of an Agamemnon. 

Tom Hamilton's task was not quite so soon completed, and it was very 
evident to the Chevalier, Worrell, and all the other parties concerned, 
that the Honourable Mr. Fitzurse was shaking in the most undignified 
manner possible. At length, however, the butler crept away with his 
bottles to the place appointed for the seconds, and Tom Hamilton 
keeping his friend somewhat upon the perpendicular, shouted to Mr. de 

Lunatico, " You must give the word, chevalier, by , I can't leave him, 

so I must make him cover my angles the best way I can." 

But just at that moment up popped the red night-cap and face againi 

and the voice of the peer shouted forth, " D me, stand up, sir, like 

a man ! Get away, Tom Hamilton ! Stand up, sir, or I'll come over 
and cane you!" 

A momentary energy was given to Mr. Fitzurse by the voice of his 
respected parent, his knees became straighter, his back less bent. Tom 
Hamilton took advantage of the opportunity, and darted away ; the 
chevalier gave the word, and strange to say both ])istol3 went off* at 
once. The ball of Mr. Fitzurse making an angle of ninety degreef 


from the line wlilcli it ought to have pursued towards his adversary, 
passed between Tom Hamilton and the chevalier, and left an invaluable 
scar upon the cheek of Joey Pike, who sent forth in a inelo-dramatic 
tone, " Je suis blesse !" But alack and a-well-a-day, no sooner had the 
honourable scion of a noble house performed this chivalrous feat, than 
down he fell at full length upon his face without sense or motion. 

" He's fainted again, by jingo," cried Tom Hamilton. 

" D me, he's down," cried a voice from under the red night-cap. 

" He falls very like a dead man," said the chevalier, and the two se- 
conds, with Joey Pike and Jerry Tripe, ran up to the spot, while 
Worrel stood where he had been placed with not the most pleasant 
feelings in the world, and the peer was seen struggling to raise the 
squelchy rotundity of Ids abdomen over the wall, though he was imable 
to effect it. 

Tom Hamilton and Mr. Tripe were the first at the spot, and they 
soon contrived to roll Mr. Fitzurse over upon his back. His face was 
as pale as ashes, and just in the middle of his forehead was a small 
wound, from which the blood was trickling down between his eyebrows, 
and into his right eye. 

" Get up the pistols, Joey," said the chevalier, " it is time to be off." 

" D me, he's dead," cried the peer from the top of the wall, " run 

for a constable, Jerry Tripe — raise the hue-and-cry — send down the 
people from the lodge." 

" Oh, if that's the case, there is no time to be lost," said the chevalier. 
" Come, Worrel, come, or our pigeon-shooting may have a bad end." 

Thus saying he took Worrel by the arm, and followed by Joey Pike 
with the pistols, he made the best of his way down the lane. 




The Chevalier de Lunatico, Harry Worrel, and Joey Pike proceeded 
down the lane, as we have said, at first with a dignified slowness, as if 
they would not stoop to run away, but they gradually accelerated their 
steps till at length Joey pulled the skirt of the chevalier's coat, and 
crying " Ecoutez !" threw himself into the attitude of the listening slave. 
The whole party stopped for a moment and listened, upon which a 
loud hullaballoo was heard coming quickly up the road behind them. 

" We had better separate," said Worrel. " Joey, take care of yourself, 
hide away the pistols somewhere shrewdly, and let us all meet to-night 

\' ^x 


^ 7 

W . A* 

Aij^ ; 





in Mr. Longmore's garden. I will take across the country. Chevalier, 
you come up the bank here with me, and I will show you a place of con- 

" No, no," replied the chevalier laughing, " take care of yourself, 
my good friend. If I understood you rightly last night, all they will 
do is to put me in prison, and I should not much mind a fair insight 
into such an establishment. I will join you to-night if I am not taken." 

" Good by, good by, then," cried Worrel, scrambling up the bank, 
and disappearing amongst the bushes on the other side. 

The chevalier turned round to look for his newly acquired valet, but 
Joey had given up the display of grace in repose, for the piu^pose of 
exhibiting grace in action ; and such use had he made of the locomo- 
tive machinery with which nature had provided him, that all the 
chevalier could perceive of his dear departed friend was a pair of legs 
going rapidly round a turn in the lane, about a hundred yards in ad- 
vance. Being thus left to his own resources, Mr. de Lunatico walked 
deliberately forward, determined to take his chance of what might 
occur, and to leave to our good friend. Fate, the task of settling his 
lodging for the night. The sounds that followed were now increasing 
in intensity every minute ; but Mr. de Lunatico presently thought that 
he heard the tongues of dogs as well as men joining in the outcry ; and 
in a moment or two after, down from the top of tlie bank shot a large 
male fox, which darted on along the road, and ensconced itself quietly in a 
large hole under the hedge near the spot where Joey Pike had dis- 
appeared. Scarcely had reynard thus entrenched himself, when a number 
of black and white ill-looking dogs, with hanging ears and open mouths, 
poured down from above, some tumbling head over heels in their eager- 
ness, some treading the precipitous descent as delicately as if they had 
been taught to dance the tight-rope. The chevalier paused, doubting 
much whether he was not about to be eaten up alive. But the hounds, 
smelling something that they liked better, rushed forward full ciy 
upon the track of their long-backed prey. A more real danger, 
however, tlu-eatened the chevalier the moment after, for scarcely 
had the hounds chosen their own course when a gentleman in a 
red coat, mounted on a splendid black horse, appeared suddenly on 
the top of the bank, made a violent effort to pull in his beast, 
and came down head over heels into the lane below. He was just 
jumping up when a second appeared above, and, without being warned 
by his companion's fate, dashed on to the very edge, where the earth 
giving way, the horse slipped, rolled over, jammed its rider between 
its body and the earth, and striking full against the stump of an 
old tree as it descended, broke its back, and lay kicking convulsively 
upon the ground. Another followed, but with more skill, though not 
with less rashness, he leaped his horse over a small bush, threw himself 
back with an easy rein, then gave him a lift of the head as they came 
down, and hunter and huntsman descended safely on the turf at the 
bottom of the bank ; the only little accident that occurred being that 
the horse kicked one of the gentlemen who had fallen as he descended, 
and broke his leg. At the same moment a number of similar scenes 
were going on in various parts of the lane ; and with not much care 

C. — KO. 2. £ 


for the killed or wounded, the red-coated gentry rode on after the 
hounds, till a loud cry of "gone to earth, gone to earth," and "dig him 
out, dig him out," brought their sport for atmie to a conclusion. 

The chevalier put his hand in his breeches-pocket, and advanced 
quietly into the midst of the group which had by this time assembled 
around the hole to which reynard had betaken himself. He bowed 
courteously to the diiferent gentlemen he passed, and was greeted 
universally with a benignant smile, which certainly no native of this 
lower sphere would have received from tlie sportsmen at that 

" I beg your pardon," he said to one of the most prominent of the 
huntsmen, " but I am a stranger, and you will permit me to ask, what is 
all this about ?" 

"About ?" replied the other, "why, it is a fox-hunt, man." 

" And do you mean to say," asked the chevalier, " that all these 
men, and these horses, and all these dogs, have been running after the 
little beast I saw go into that hole r" 

" To be sure," answered his companion. " It is the most glorious 
sport in the world." 

"And are such accidents as these of frequent occurrence?" de- 
manded the chevalier. 

" Oil, continually," replied the other, " seldom a day passes without 
something of the kind. I myself have twice broken my collar-bone, 
once my arm, once my leg, and have been once trepanned." 

" And do you really pretend to say you like it ?" said the che- 

" Why, as to liking it, you know," replied the other, " one gets ac- 
customed to it ; it is very exciting you know, and all that." 

" What a nice thing a fox must be," said the chevalier. " I should 
like to eat a bit very much." 

" Eat a bit of a fox !" cried the huntsman, " the nasty stinking carrion. 
Why, man, you are mad !" 

" I beg your pardon," said the chevalier, with a low bow, " I think 
it is you. However, I am much obliged to you for your politeness, 
and shall be very happy to see you all in my country when you come 
there, which you will be obliged to do within six months, according to 
the tenor of these presents ;" and taking out a whole handful of billets 
he distributed them amongst the members of the hunt, much to their 

The chevalier then made his bow and retired, leaving them to unearth 
the fox at their leisure ; and taking his way quietly onward towards the 
village, determined to wait in peace the consequences of the late duel. 
Whether it was, however, that the pursuers, if there were any, never 
dreamt that the fugitives, like a hunted hare, would doubhg back to their 
old form, or whether they were misled by a false scent, or whether there 
wera any pursuers or not, the reader will soon b e informed ; but one 
thing is very certain, that they never thought of coming after the 
chevalier to the inn, and that he sat down about an hour afterwards to 
an excellent breakfast, and declared that he felt himself as much at home 
in the Half Moon as if he had been in the whole one. 


" I don't know how it is either, Mrs. Muggins," he said, " for of all 
the people I have yet met with in this country, you are the least of a 

" La, sir," said Mrs. Muggins, " I'm glad you think so ;'* and having 
nothing more to say upon the occasion, she dropped a courtesy, and left 
the room. In ten minutes after, however, she returned to the parlour 
to tell the clievalier that the Hon. Henry Frederick Augustus Fitzurse 
had been shot in a duel, this being the first intimation of the affair which 
had reached the village. The chevalier replied, " really !" and finished 
his roll, and Mrs. Muggins, thinking him a very odd gentleman, again 

In the meanwhile, Harry Worrel made his way across the country, 
fell in with the fox- hounds, and began to suspect that the 
outcry which conscience had changed into the sounds of pursuit, was 
neither more nor less than the halloo of the huntsman. It might, 
indeed, have surprised him, in any other part of the country, to 
see the hounds out at so early an hour in the morning'; but he 
was well aware of the peculiar habits of the master of the pack, 
who began the chace at six, rode like a madman till two, then 
came in to throw off his red coat, pull off his boots, and transact 
the business of the day as a magistrate, a father, and a landlord, 
with the most sedate and reasonable propriety. Taking his course 
across fields and through lanes well known to himself, Worrel ap- 
proached by degrees the house of Mr. Longmore ; and although he 
had determined stoutly not to present himself there till day was over, 
he continued moving about nearer and more near, like a moth flying 
round a candle, till at length, arguing that it would be cruel to leave 
his fair Laura in any doubt as to his fate, he opened the little gate of 
the garden, walked round to the window of the drawing-room — know- 
ing very well, be it remembered, that Mr. Longmore Avas by this time 
in his observatory — and took the pleasure of observing her for a mo- 
ment or two as she sat with her pretty little head leaning upon her 
pretty little hand, in a very pensive and melancholy attitude. It was 
one of those convenient windows, dear reader, which open down the 
middle, like a pair of folding doors. It had a brass handle, too, upon 
which Harry Worrel laid his hand gently — but not so gently that Laura 
did not hear it. The sound caused her to start up at once, and 
before Worrel had opened the window she was half-way towards 
it. There was nobody in the room but herself and her lover. 
She had not slept a wink all night, from a strong suspicion of the 
errand that Worrel was gone upon. She was in the act of 
fancying him shot, when his coming disturbed her reverie, and conse- 
quently, there being only one method of consoling herself for all she 
had suffered on his account, she took it at once, like a good girl as 
she was, threw herself into his arms and kissed his cheek, while tears 
of joy and relief ran over from her eyes. Under such circumstances 
people in general love to be left alone together, and Me shall gratify 
them in this respect, as we are precluded by the dignity of our history 
from following the course of any personage further than just sufficient 
to elucidate its bearings upon the peculiar inquiries of the Chevalier de 

52 THE commissioner; or, 

Lunatico. There is, however, another personage whose proceedings 
we must take some notice of, as, without entering upon them fully, 
various parts of the subsequent adventures of the chevalier could not 
be clearly understood by the reader, who, perhaps, may not be sorry 
to hear something more concerning the fate of the renowned Joey 




The clerk of the parish — although this chapter is to be devoted to 
Joey Pike, and Joey was not installed in the honourable office we have 
just mentioned — the clerk of the parish, in the honour and manor of 
Outrun, fulfilled, in those days of primeval simplicity, the duties of 
sexton, and took upon himself the greater share of burying the dead. 
There is something, we have every reason to believe, in the smell of 
freshly turned earth, which has a great tendency to promote longevity : 
for, from the time of the exhumer of Yorick, downwards, it would ap- 
pear that all grave-diggers live to a good old age. Such, at least, 
was the case with the clerk and sexton of the parish of Outrun, who 
had arrived at the respectable term of seventy years ; and, though 
somewhat thin and weazened withal, he had remained a jovial old 
gentleman up to the period of three months before the time we speak 
of. In his early life he had married a wife, in mature life he had 
buried her ; and for some years it was supposed that experience had led 
him to judge the latter to be the more satisfactory stej) of the two. 
But somewhat before he had reached what has been considered the 
grand terminus upon tlie railroad of life, beyond which few pass, and 
of which many stop short — a few months before he had reached the 
period of seventy years, the tender passion had resumed its sway, and 
Tobias Scapulary had once more committed matrimony with a lady 
some five-and-twenty years his junior, who had lately appeared in the 
parish of Outrun, and of whose family, connections, and conduct, there 
were sundry evil rumours in the village. However, as she had come 
down for the purpose of setting up a chandler's shop, in opposition to 
an old inhabitant of the place, scandal might have some share in the 
business, and the reports were to be taken with a grain of salt, as the 
Romans have it : although all the salt in the world would not have 
persuaded the rival chandler that the good lady was any thing but a 


bad, saucy, drunken Irish woman, or that she was a real widow 
after all. 

Notwithstanding all this, to her Tobias Scapulary paid his addresses. 
His friends and relations, as he was well to do in the world, remon- 
strated strongly. As a natural consequence, Tobias instantly laid his 
hand and heart at the feet of tlie widow, and she took a day to^ con- 
sider of the matter, whieli both increased his flame, and gave him a 
high idea of her prudence. In the mean time, she consulted with a 
friend of about five-and-tifty years of age, a native of the village, but 
one who had been a tin-man in London — had failed for a considerable 
amount with as much eclat as his betters — had paid three pence in the 
pound, and had come down to settle at Outrun, with, what he called, 
a comfortable little independence ; that is to say, enough to purchase 
a pork-chop, when such things are in season, and a glass of gin and 
water at all periods of the year. " To make his crown a pound," 
he did not, like a certain Jemmy that the reader wots of, go to sea ; 
but he had recourse, it was whispered, to various means, suggested by 
a fertile imagination. He sold rabbits about the neighbourhood, 
though where they came from was a mystery ; and it was said, that a 
hare or a pheasant occasionally popped out of his bag, for the benefit 
of secret })eople who required such commodities. He also indulged 
in games of chuck-farthing, pitch-and-toss, and odds-and-evens ; went 
as far as a touch at hazard, when he could get hold of the dice ; and 
somehow or another he contri\ cd to win more of other people's money, 
than he ever had to pay of his own. Moreover, he was a keen-looking, 
ugly wight, stout about the calves of the legs, but with a face as 
warty and knotty as the trunk of an old oak, and with a pair of small 
eyes, that might have fitted any pig's countenance in Christendom. 

When the widow asked this worthy, whose name, by the way, was 
Smalldram, whether he thought it would be better for her to marry old 
Toby Scapulary or not, he took full five minutes to consider the ques- 
tion, and then replied deliberately, that it could do no great harm. 
Her answer then to the clerk's proj)osal was satisfactory to his feelings, 
and at the end of a fortnight and two days the lady and gentleman 
were made one flesh. 

From that time forth, however, a sad change took place in good 
Tobias Scapulary. He wasted away, he grew feeble, his spade no 
longer played gaily amongst the bones of his departed friends ; neither 
his own life nor the death of others, seemed to aflbrd him that amuse- 
ment and satisf\iction which he had known therein in former years ; and 
it was wliispered all over the village, that he had found the second dose 
of matrimony worse than the first. At length he had taken to his bed, 
but the village doctor said there was no immediate danger, that he 
might go on for months in his present state, and perhaps get well 
again. The lawyer gave a hint to his relations, that on his marriage- 
day he had made a will, leaving his whole substance to his present 
wife. The relations thought that his views in those matters might be 
changed, and urged him to make another testament, which he said he 
would doj but put it off from day to day ; and, in the meantime, Mrs. 
Scapulary devoted herself to attendance upon his sick-bed, with the 

54 Thk coMMtss^o^^*:R ; oft, 

pleasing hope of frustrating the interested views of his kith and kin. 
No solace, no recreation did she know, but a couple of hours' gossip 
in the parlour adjoining his bed-room with her excellent friend 
Smalldram, together with a glass or two of stilf gin and water, in 
which he shared. Such was the state of things on the day preceding 
the duel which we have recorded in the last chapter ; and although 
all this seems to have nothing to do with Joey Pike, yet it will soon 
be found, that he was not slightly connected therewith. 

At the very time, then, that Harry Worrel was sitting within the 
hospitable doors of the Half Moon, and talking to Mrs. Muggins in re- 
gard to his father, his mother, his uncle, and the rest ; at that very 
moment too, when the Chevalier de Lunatico was speeding along upon 
the cantering galloway down the lane, towards Outrun castle, or 
undergoing tlie unpleasant interrogatory of Mr. Jeremy Tripe ; at the 
very moment that Lord Outrun, Tom Hamilton, and the Honourable 
Henry Frederick Augustus Fitzurse were in the incipient dinner-state 
of fish and soup, Mrs. Scapulary was coming aiid going between the 
bed-room of her husband and the cottage-parlour which fronted 
the street ; looking with a sweet face of assumed sensibility upon the 
sick man, when in one chamber, and putting on the aspect of a devil 
incarnate when she issued forth into the other. The beautiful contrast 
of demeanour produced by the two apartments, was not confined to 
mute signs alone ; for in the bed-room she would exclaim, in a gentle 
though audible voice, " Do take a little gin and water, Toby, my 
dear, it will do you good : there's a dear old man." But in the par- 
lour she muttered in a low tone, " The nasty old varmint — a rat's a 
nosegay to him." 

There was evidently something, to use a common term, upon Mrs. 
Scapulary's mind ; for she put her eye more than once to one of the 
small panes of the cottage-window, and looked out into the moonlight 
street of the little village, as if anxious to know what was taking 
place. In so doing she squeezed her nose, which was reddish about 
the wings, almost ilat against the glass ; which fact is mentioned liere, 
merely to show the eagerness that she displayed. At length, how- 
ever, a tap was heard at the window, upon whicli she opened the door, 
and in walked the person of her friend Mr. Smalldram. 

" The old brute's asleep," said Mrs. Scapulary, " but it won't last 
long ; he always wakes about half-past eleven, and lies whining and 
whimpering for an hour." 

" But how are you yourself, my dear creetur ?" said Mr. Small- 
dram. " Worn out with anxiety, I dare say," and at the same time he 
squeezed her hand tenderly. 

What Mrs. Scapulary replied to this courteous inquiry, it is not 
needful to repeat ; but, however that may be, she and her good friend 
sat down by the side of the round table ; a great glass bottle was 
set upon it, with two rummers and a sugar-basin. A tea-kettle, 
which was singing on the fire, made more than one excursion between 
the grate and the table during the hour that succeeded, and an inter- 
esting conversation took place, the most imi)ortant point in which 
w as, that Mr. Smalldram informed Mrs, Scapulary that the new m ill 


was drawn out by t^ie lawyer, that it was to be signed at twelve the 
next day, and that if she did not mind what she was about, she 
would be done. 

This intimation threM' the lady into a thoughtful mood, and. Mr. 
Smalldram followed up his hit by saying that if he were her he would 
take care and stop that go. The mature consideration of these matters 
was prevented for the time by the wakiug up of the worthy Tobias, who 
began with a cough and v/eiit on with a growl, and thus continued, alter- 
nately coughing, growling, and scolding, from half-past eleven till the 
hour of two, M hen having insisted, upon his wife coming to bed, he fell 
into a sound sleep. 

Now it happened that Mrs. Scapulary had forgotten, on retiring to 
rest, to tell Mr. Smalldram that it would be better for him to take his 
departure, and. he consequently remained in the parlour, fraternizing 
with the green glass bottle. As soon, however, as the worthy clerk 
\vas asleep, his fair lady returned to the companionship ^hich she 
affected more, and after ha^ ing comforted herself with a warm glass, 
she made an observation or two upon her husband's high qualities — 
declared that it was time he was gone — added a philosophical remark 
or two upon the sorrows and cares of mortal existence, especially in a 
man turned seventy, and then put a question of a delicate nature to 
her worthy counsellor, who replied as before, 

" No great harm, I should think." 
i " Nor I either," said the dame. 

" Does he sleep sound ?" said Mr. Smalldram. 

" When he is asleep," replied the lady ; " but you'll make liim sleep 
sound enough, Tonnny, if you have your way." 

" Ay, ay, a wonderful narcotic that, as the doctor calls it," said 
the worthy counsellor ; and both Mrs. Scapulary and Mr. Smalldram 
chuckled low at the joke, and thought it a good one. 

" But how is it to be done ?" demanded Mrs. Scapulary. 

" Ay, that is the question," rejoined Mr. Smalldram. 

" Couldn't I get some stuff for the rats and make a mistake ?" said 
Mrs. Scapulary. " Sitch accidents will happen." 

" The worst of it is," replied her counsellor, " that we are hard up 
for time. The ^^ ill is to be signed to-morrow morning ; and besides 
arsenic is so easy found out. Those d — d doctors will never let any 
one poison people but themselve;?. 

" I hate doctors," rejoined the clerk's wife abstractedly ; " they shall 
never none of them come near me.' 

" I don't dislike the doctors," said Mr. Smalldram, with a wink of 
his left eye, which in its pristine state was considerably smaller than 
the other ; " but I like to have them in my own hand. But let us 
think how we can do the old chap. One could get a pillow and hold 
it down over his mouth, you a one side and I of t'other ! He can't 
have much wind left." 

Mrs. Scapulary laughed, and Mr. Smalldram went on to say — " It's 
classical too, my dear, that's the M'ay that Othello got rid of his 
better half." 
»^ " Ay," said the clerk's wife ; " but this old fellow's devilish strong 

5b THE commissioner; OB, 

with always a shovelling up of the earth, and if he were once to get 
his head out and screech, then we are done for, you know." 

" Haven't you got a rope anywhere ?" said the ci-devant tin-man. 
" I've little or no doubt he deserves to be hanged long ago I" 

" Why there are the ropes he lets down the corpses with," said Mrs. 
Scapulary ; " he keeps them just under the bed." 

" I dare say," rejoined Mr. Smalldram, " that you could just slip one 
end of it under his neck without waking him." 

" I dare say I could," replied the lady ; " and if he did wake for a 
minute he'd know nothing about it. I can slip it under the pillow." 

" Take care not to catch the pillow in the noose," said the tinman, 
" for that might spoil the job ; but if you can slip it in on one side, I 
can stand behind the curtain on the other, we can then cross the 
ends, and with one good pull the thing's done and over." 

" Musn't pull too hard," answered the woman, " or you'll make a 

" Why, you seem up to the trick, my dear," said Mr. Smalldram, 

" I remember when Betty Price killed her baby," whispered Mrs. 
Scapulary, " they said she never would have been found out if she 
had been more gentle about it." 

" Ay, ay, it's that overdoing a thing," said the tin-man in a philoso- 
phical tone, "that spoils every job. Moderation in all things — 
moderation in all things is the great rule ! Why, what o'clock is that?" 

" It's four, upon my honour," replied Mrs. Scapulary. 

" How the time goes in pleasant conversation," observed Mr. Small- 
dram ; " but upon my life we must get to business, if the thing's to be 
done at all." 

" Stop a bit," exclaimed Mrs. Scapulary, " let us have a glass more 
any how : here's just enough for you and me ;" and she divided the 
last of the bottle between herself and her counsellor. 

It was very evident, that whether she was affected by fear or com- 
punction, she had some little reluctance to begin the task she had un- 
dertaken, and Mr. Smalldram thought that he would be wanting in 
courtesy if he pressed her too severely. He accordingly waited, only 
indicating by long pauses his impatience to proceed with the work, till 
about a quarter to five, when he remarked with a particular emphasis, 
" It will soon be daylight." 

" Well," said Mrs. Scapulary, " let us set about it ;" and he pullmg 
off his shoes, and she her slippers, they crept quietly, and on tiptoe, 
into the room of the devoted clerk. 

Poor Mr. Scapulary was in a profound sleep ; the rushlight, which he 
had indulged in since he was taken ill, had burnt low down in the shade, 
and there was just light enough to see the face of the pale, weazened 
old man, as he lay breathing hard upon his back. Mrs. Scapulary 
consoled and strengthened herself by calling him a nasty old varmint, 
and then stooping down, drew from under the bed a long stout rope, 
which she and her friend examined for a moment with inquiring eyes. 

" It will do," said Mr. Smalldram, in a scientific tone. " I will go 
round on this here side of the bed, and you stay on that there. Let 
me keep behind the curtain till you get the rope through, for fear he 


sliould wake as you are slipping it under. Whenever it's all safe I'll 
take the end." 

This being arranged in a whisper, the worthy gentleman proceeded 
to the other side of the bed, and ensconced himself snugly behind the 
curtain ; and the lady, taking the end of the rope dexterously between 
her finger and thumb, slipped it, together with her arm, under the old 
man's neck. 

Tobias Scapulary was certainly somewhat roused by this unusual 
mark of affection, and growled out, " What's the matter now ?" 

" You are lying uncomfortable, my dear," said the lady in a sweet 

" Let me alone," said the old man again ; " I should lie more com- 
fortably if you had never lain beside me." 

A silence ensued for a moment or two, and then Mr. Smalldram 
gently emerging from his concealment took the end of the rope in his 
hand, pulled it rapidly through, and twisted it with the other end, 
which was thrown to him by Mr. Scapulary's better half. All this 
could not be executed without waking the worthy clerk, who raised 
himself a little on one elbow in wonder and fear, exclaiming, " Hallo ! 
what's the matter ? Ugh, ugh, ugh !" and back he fell upon the bed, 
while his wife pulled on one side and Mr. Smalldram on the other ; 
the latter forgetting the caution he had received, and tugging so hard 
as nearly to throw down his partner in this act of tuggee. 

" Hold fast," cried Mr. Smalldram. " How the old fellow kicks ! 
There, it'll soon be over ! Now, I think he ouglit to be obliged to us 
for putting him out of his pain." 

" Why, he's kicked all the bed-clothes off," said Mrs. Scapulary. 
" Do help me to put him straight. Why, what are you about ?" 

" Only seeing what he has got in his breeches-pocket," said Mr. 

" I declare that's not fair," said Mrs. Scapulary. 

" That's a good un," said the man. " Not fair ? Why, you didn't 
think that I was going to meddle with a job like this for nothing ? 
Come, come ! you've got all that is to come after, my dear : so I'll just 
have this ass in presenti, as the schoolmaster calls it," and thus saying 
he thrust into his own breeches-pockets a whole handful of money, 
notes, and papers, which he had found in those of the defunct Mr. 

" Well, help me to smooth him down," said Mrs. Scapulary. 
" That's the least you can do. W^hy, we shall have somebody coming." 

" Nonsense !" replied her worthy coadjutor, " every body is a-bed 
and asleep." 

" Why, it is quite daylight!" cried the woman, angrily; "don't you 
see the blue light gleaming through the shutters ! " 

" Well, then, it is time to set things straight indeed," said Mr. 
Smalldram ; " and so we'll begin with his legs." 

" Untie the rope first ! " replied the lady, who did seem to be, as 
her friend remarked, somewhat of a connoisseur — I wish we could 
make that word, feminine, in our tongue — " Untie the rope, or you'll 
have a ring round his neck as blue as a beadle's coat ! " 

5S THE Comm1ssio?:f.r ; OK, 

The rope \vas accordingly untied, and stowed away safely under the 
bed ; the limbs were straig'htened : the bed put in order, and the whole 
room made tidy, as Mrs. Scapulafy expressed herself. After which, 
leaving the rushlight to burn itself out, the pretty pair walked into the 
next chamber where they found that the candle which they had left nearly 
in the socket when they had proceeded on their enterprise, had taken 
the liberty of extinguishing itself, leaving a considerable smell of fried 
tallow, which, mingled with the accumulated fragrance of gin, produced 
not the most odoriferous atmosphere in the little parlour. Mrs. Sca- 
pulary lighted another candle, for from some mysterious cause they did 
not like to open the shutters and let in the daylight. They then stood 
for several minutes gazing in each other's faces in silence. 

" Well, Tom," asked the lady, " what's to be done now?" 

" Nothing that I know of," replied her friend. " I shall go home, 
nd go to bed I think." 

" I don't like to go to bed," said the woman. " I'll wait here till a 
little after six, and then go out for some milk. It's somewhat early, 
but 111 say he wants some very bad." 

" Ay I that'll be a good blind," cried Mr. Smalldram. " Then you 
can come home and find him dead and make a great outcry !" 

" That's it!" rejoined the lady. " Mind that you don't flush any of 
those birds you've got in yoiu* pocket, Mr. Tom. The folks know 
well enough your purse may be carried very easy ; so take care till 
you and I are married." 

" Don't be afraid ! " replied Mr. Smalldram ; " I am as careful as a 
squirrel ; but I had better be jogging — I say, look out, there's a dear, 
and see if there is any body near." 

" Not I," cried the lady. " Peep through a cranny, and then bolt ! " 

Not without much care and some hesitation did the ci-devant tin-man 
screw up his mind to leave the cottage, which stood at an angle of the 
road near the church. But after having opened the door carefully, and 
looked up and down with a somewhat anxious glance, he darted away, 
crossed the churchyard-stile, and disappeared amongst the trees. 

Mrs. Scapulary closed the door, which he had left open, and then 
stood for two or three minutes staring down upon the table. Was it 
remorse that slung her ? — was it repentance ? No, reader, no ! — Was 
it fear ? No, reader, no ! She had taken her precautions, as she 
thought, so well, that fear had little to do with it. She was thinking, 
on the contrary, on the handful of money and other things that her friend 
had crammed into his breeches-pocket, and reproaching herself for 
letting him take them. 

" I've a great mind to accuse him of the murder!" she thought. 
" The money will be found upon him, and he can't prove I had any 
hand in it ! We'll see. If all goes quietly, why well — if not, it may 
look as if he did it while I was away — I'll go out directly. There 
goes six o'clock." 

She had to return into the next room for her bonnet and shawl, and 
for the first time she felt something like awe as she did so. All was 
so still that the small still voice seemed to make itself attended to. She 
would have given something to have heard the old man snore. Snatch- 


ing down the things from the shelf, she pnt them on in the parlour, and 
then hurried out closing the door behind her. 

She had been gone about ten minutes v,hen some one knocked at 
the outer door and then lifted the latch. The door opened quickly 
and the head of no less a person than Joey Pii^e appeared. " Mrs. Sca- 
pulary!" he said, entering. "Hist, Mrs. Scapulary ! — we have com- 
mitted a murder, and the John d'arms are upon our trusses — ]Vo?i c'e 
signore ! — They are early people too — I'll tap at the camera di letto. 
Perhaps they are dentro. I'll shut this door first, however," and 
after closing the aperture by which he had entered, he approached the 
inner room, and now for the first time perceived that the door was ajar. 
" Hist, Mrs. Scapulary ! " he continued, in a low tone. " The old man 
is ill, and I dare say she is asleep, povera, quite exhausted, poor dear 
fanciullu — vendue^ as the French say ; but I must disturb her," and 
pushing open tlie door witli a flourish of his hand he entered with one 
toe pointed, the other extended behind him in the attitude of John of 
Bologna's Mercury, and his head turned towards his left shoulder as if 
in the act of listening. The stilhiess surprised him, especially as the 
rushlight was still burning, and approaching the bedside, he looked in 
and beheld tlie dead body of poor old Tobias Scapulary ! 

" ii Morto r exclaimed Joey, in a Tamburini tone, and then open- 
ing the window-shutter he looked into the bed again. The sight which 
was now for the first time clearly displayed, had a great eflect upon 
Joey. The eyes of the corpse were starting from the head, the tongue 
was hanging from the mouth ; and without adding any farther parti- 
culars, all the signs of a violent death presented themselves on the 
face of the corpse. Joey was seized with an universal trembling ; 
and not at all liking his quarters, he rushed into the parlour, opened 
the outer door, nearly knocked down a man with a spade that was 
going quietly along, and made oflf across the country at a very rapid 






Hat^ry Worrel sat upon the arm of the sofa, holding Laura's hand 
in his, and Laura sat upon the sofa beside him, with her beautiful eyes 
turned up towards his face, like one of the pretty little angels at the 
foot of Titian's magnificent picture of the ascension of the Virgin, at 
Venice, and they thus wasted nearly an hour looking at each otlier and 


saying little ; though, abstractedly speaking, it was very odd for them to 
do so, as they had seen each other's faces very often before, and knew 
every line and feature therein perfectly well. Such was the state of 
things when their conference was brought to a sudden close by the door 
opening and Mr. Longmore himself appearing with an open note in 
his hand, and by no means his usual placable expression in his face. 
It was evidently, as the great poet wrote, " torture, fury, rage, despair, 
I cannot, cannot bear!" He did not, indeed, seem in the least surprised 
to find Worrel in the drawing-room, but he did appear to be a little em- 
barrassed as to how he should commence the attack he evidently medi- 
tated upon some one. When Mardonius contended with Pausanias 
at the famous battle of Plata^a, both the Persian and the Greek army 
paused for several days, unwilling to commence that awful strife in 
which five hundred thousand men encountered each other with the 
purpose of cutting each other's throats. A retrograde movement 
on the part of the Greeks — and a most idiotical movement it was, as 
it was conducted, though it ended in undeserved victory — a retrograde 
movement on the part of the Greeks, inducing an erroneous belief that 
they were in retreat, brought on the battle ; and such was the case 
also in the present instance — for if Plarry Worrel had continued sitting 
nonchalantly on the arm of the sofsi, swinging his leg with a grace, 
and taking the whole business quite as a matter of course, Mr. Longmore 
would have found great difficulty in commencing the affray. Instead 
of that, however, Harry jumped down, looked foolish, and began to 
stammer forth some account of his sudden return. 

*' Sir," said Mr. Longmore, " I am not in the least surprised to see 
you — 1 doubt not you have run here as hard as you could come — I 
trust, however, that it is the last time that you will present yourself 
in my house ! So, sir, you must needs go and shoot the gentleman I 
had selected for my son-in-law. I can tell you, sir, that if you took 
that way to recommend yourself as his successor, you are very much 
mistaken. I beg that you will take your departure as speedily as pos- 
sible ; for though, perhaps, I am in duty bound to cause you to be 
taken up immediately, yet I would rather not so deal with my near 
kinsman, if I can avoid it !" 

" Oh ! papa, dear papa !" cried Laura, " do not be so hard-hearted !" 

" Hush, girl," exclaimed the old gentleman ; " if I thought you had 

given this young man any encouragement Pel Pd Pd turn 

you out of doors too !" 

Laura, very confident that he would not long keep her out, almost 
wished that he would fulfil his threat, that she might have a fair excuse 
for making a little tour to Gretna Green with him she loved best on all 
the earth. But Worrel having recovered himself, and the worst of the 
business now being over, made, by accident, one of those happy replies 
which, though it did not check the fury of Mr. Longmore [it the time, 
rested upon his mind for many months after, and by tickling gently one 
of the weak points about him, greatly mollified him towards the 

" Well, sir," he said, " I am sorry you disapprove of my conduct ; 
but I do thmk, when you come to consider of it, you will not judge 


SO harshly, and will see, that I ought not to suffer your kimman to be 
grossly insulted by any man in all the realm, be he a poor man, or be he 
a prince." Now, iiad Worrel called himself any thing else on earth but 
" your kinsman," it would not have had the same effect upon Mr. Long- 
more; as it was, however, it struck him even at the moment, that there' 
was some truth in what Worrel said, and that his kinsman ought not to 
be insulted. The current of his anger did, perhaps, ebb a little ; but he 
still continued to insist upon Worrel's quitting the house in the same 
tone in which he had begun. 

" Sir," he said, " I care nothing about that : you might be insulted 
or you might not, that is nothing to me ! But, sir, what is very nmch 
to me is, your making love to my daughter, sir. That I don't choose ; 
and, I must say that it was very wrong, when you well knew that 
I always intended her to marry the Honom-able Henry Augustus 
Frederick Fitzurse, and in due course of time become Viscountess 

" Indeed, my dear sir," replied Harry, " I knew no such thing, 
for if I had known it, I might have kept myself out of the way of 

" That you wouldn't, Harry," said Laura, half laughing, half crying ; 
" but one thing I know, though I don't mean to be disobedient, and do 
what papa tells me not, yet nothing on earth would ever have made me 
marry that ugly sot, if he and I had lived for ever." 

" Laura, you will put me in a passion," cried Mr. Longmore, " a 
state I have not been in since your poor, dear mother died. But there 
is only one word needs to be said — you must go, Mr. Worrel, you must 
go ; and let me beg of you not to come back again, till you are sent 
for, which will be long enough, I trow." 

Worrel felt anger mingling with sorrow and disappointment, and 
being somewhat afraid of his own temper, he made up his mind to the 
bitter step, which he knew he must take at last, which was neither 
more nor less than a step out of the drawing-room window. Snatching 
up his hat then, and resolved — like all prudent people, when they find 
that they cannot get every thing that they want — to take as much as 
he could get, he caught Laura to his bosom, for a moment, gave her 
one warm and hearty kiss, much to Mr. Longmore's consternation and 
astonishment, and without waiting for a reproof, walked out at once 
into the garden, through the shrubbery, up the hill, and into the little 
fir-wood at the top. 

In the meanwhile, Mr. Longmore and Laura were left confronting 
each other ; and, to say the truth, Laura's courage, like that of Bob 
Acres, began to ooze out at the palms of her hands : to which dimi- 
nution of valour, if we say the truth, the kiss she had just received 
from her lover had not a little contributed. It was not alone that 
being kissed in company is, in itself, a somewhat agitating thing ; and 
also, that being kissed before her father, against her father's will, was 
still more agitating ; but also, that Laura recollected that this identical 
kiss was the last she was likely to have for a very long time, which 
was the most agitating of all. With that kiss came to an end, perhaps 
for years, the sweet whispered words of mutual confidence, the looks 

62 THE commissioner; or, 

that explained or directed more fully than an oration, the meaning 
smile^ the light laugh to one another, the gay jest, comprehended by 
none but themselves — all were over for the time, and Laura thought 
with the poet, " Sine amove jocisque nil est jucundum'^ 

Her courage then had ftiiled her, her heart was sad, and, in short, 
she was not at all in a fit condition to encounter an angry man. Had 
she acted politically — as she knew from her experience of her father's 
character what would be the right way to assuage his anger, and 
to come at her own object — Laura would have laughed at him, 
teased him, made light of him ; but somehow, she had not the heart to 
do it at the moment that she knew it to be the most necessary ; and 
there she stood before him looking like a culprit, which is always tlie 
surest possible way to be condemned as such. What might have come 
of it no one can tell ; but just at the moment when Mr. Longmore was 
about to pour forth a torrent of anger and reprehension upon his poor 
daugliter's head — when he was in the very act of opening his moutli to 
tell her, that he would leave her his curse, his whole curse, and 
nothing but his curse, if she ever thought of marrying Harry Worrel 
— the sound of an easy-going horse was heard, and the cantering 
galloway was seen coming along the road with no other than the 
Chevalier de I^unatico upon his back. 

The whole soul of Mr. Longmore melted at the sight of his new 
acquaintance, such was the wonderful effect of the chevalier's powers, 
and out the old gentleman ran to pour forth into the friendly ear of the 
peripatetic chevalier the tale of his misfortunes. Every thing was dis- 
played in a moment ; all the little secret vanities which were wounded 
by what had occurred to IMr. Fitzurse, all the private stock of petty 
passions, concealed purposes, and latent expectations, which go to 
make up the sum of every man's motives in every course that he pur- 
sues ; how it would have been very pleasant for him to hear his daughter 
called Viscountess Outrun, and to have it put down in the peerage that 
she was the daughter of Jerry Longmore, Esquire, of Ivy-hall, in the 

county of ; and how the mayor of the neighbouring town, who 

had made a large fortune as an attorney, and had three immarried 
daughters, would have been ready to eat his nails when he heard that 
Laura Longmore had become the Honourable Mrs. Fitzurse ; and how 
he (Mr. Longmore) would have looked down upon the aldermen and 
town councillors, who had neglected or refused to give him their votes 
when liis name was put up for the mayoralty. There were fifty similar 
beautiful prospects blighted by the unfortunate affidr of the morning, 
and Mr. Longmore was infinitely relieved by unbudgetting his griefs to 
the chevalier ; who, with true diplomatic self-possession and propriety, 
walked on beside him into the drawing-room, took Lam-a's hand and 
kissed the tips of her fingers with ceremonious respect, and inquiring 
tenderly after her health, whispered, in a low voice, that all was well and 
would go well. He then turned to Mr. Longmore, and by his pleasant 
suavity, soon contrived to restore that gentleman to equanimity. He 
did not press him upon the subject of Worrel, indeed, nor give any 
opinion upon the various matters which Mr. Longmore submitted 
to his consideration, as to whether he (Mr. Longmore) had not been 


very ill treated, as to whether Laura had not behaved shamefully, 
as to whether Worrel had not behaved worse, and as to whether Mr. 
Fitzurse was not the very most eligible husband that could possibly be 
selected. Acting with becoming caution, the chevalier gave a guarded 
answer to all these questions. He pointed out to Mr. Longmore that it 
was the most natural thing in the world for two young people to fall in 
love with each other, but that if they did nothing more than fall in love, 
no great harm was done. " Love and matrimony," he continued, " are, 
as you well know, my dear sir, the most distinct things in the world, 
very often indeed the most opposite. As far as I can learn, there is no 
connection between them whatsoever, so that thousands fall in love 
without marrying, and thousands marry every day without falling in 
love. Thus, my dear sir, the past seems to me better than you imagine, 
and nobody can tell what may be in the womb of futurity ; so that 
leaving destiny to work her part, and bring forth the yet unevolved 
events which lie hid under the dark apron of the coming times, let us 
rejoice in the facilities which are allotted to decorate the present 
moment, cull the floral blossoms that burgeon for us on the bountiful 
branches of each instant of our time, and satiate ourselves with those 
delightful thoughts and exhilarating reflections which prolong the season 
of rejoicing life, and procrastinate the approach of the period of decay 
and extinction." 

" Highly philosophical and beautiful," said Mr. Longmore ; and 
though Laura thought that there was a strong touch of the rigmarole 
in the chevalier's speech, she took care not to say a word, while Mr. de 
Lunatico, with that exquisite diplomatic tact which the reader must 
already have discovered in him, pointed the application with the argii- 
mentinn ad hominem, by saying — 

" What I mean, my dear sir, is, that although, in consequence of 
your oath, you cannot admit me into your observatory, you have, I 
know, a thousand curious and wonderful discoveries and inventions in 
sciences unconnected with astronomy which you are bound, by the 
liberality of true philosophy, to make me fully acquainted with." 

Mr. Longmore sprang at the bait, like a half-famished trout at a May- 
fly, and the chevalier making a martyr of himself for the sake of the fair 
Laura, was soon plunged into Galvanic troughs, surrounded by leaden 
vessels, the butt of electrical machines, and impaled upon the needles 
of microscopes. Sometimes he was wheezing under the presence of an 
infinity of azote ; sometimes he was coughing under a superabundance 
of oxygen ; sometimes he was sneezing under the extrication of hydrogen ; 
and just before dinner-time, Mr. Longmore set going for his especial 
satisfaction, his grand new invention called the self-acting-perpetuo- 
motival-electro-magnetic machine. 

We have already explained to the reader Mr. Longmore's peculiar 
notions with regard to the precision of his dinner-hour, and on the pre- 
sent occasion the little bell, which announced that it was time for people 
to wash their hands, comb their hair, and smooth their faces, made 
itself heard at the moment that his grand machine was just getting into 
operation. Without waiting to stop it, Mr. Longmore retired for the 
purposes of ablution, and sat down to dinner, purposing to have 

64 THE commissioner; or, 

another look before he went to bed. The conversation, however, became 
animated and interesting ; Mr. Longmore forgot his purposes, and the 
whole party retired to rest, excepting the self-acting-perpetuo-motival- 
electro-magnetic machine, which went on in a furious state of activity 
in a little room to the right of the passage by which one entered the 
house. The Chevalier de Lunatico, however, had not forgotten that he 
was bound by engagement to meet Harry Worrel and Joey Pike that 
night in the garden, and accordingly, after waiting a reasonable time 
to suffer the inmates of the house to go sound asleep, he opened his 
door, descended the staircase, and was very soon shaking hands with 
his young friend. Joey was there also, reclining on the grass in the 
attitude of the dying Gladiator, and starting up with the grace of a 
dancing fawn, he began to give the chevalier an account, in what the 
newspapers call glowing language, of his visit to the cottage of poor 
old Scapulary. But just as he was telling the chevalier that at 
first sight he had thought the old man either in a state of sin- 
cuppj/, or else morto, a loud explosion, like the bursting forth of a 
volcano, was heard in the house, and while they were gazing in each 
other's faces, asking each other what could be the matter, flames burst 
forth from two windows on the ground-floor, and every other considera- 
tion w as swallowed up in the necessity of giving immediate assistance. 
The truth was, that the self-acting-perpetuo-motival-electro-magnetic 
machine had gone on w orking away till it had charged itself and every 
thing around it with such a quantity of the electric fluid, that a spark 
was elicited by a neighbouring piece of brass. Close by lay a large 
quantity of a newly-invented detonating powder, the whole mass 
ignited, thousands of other compounds joined the flame, and the whole 
place was in a blaze in a moment. 

Hushing into the house, the chevalier and Harry Worrel soon roused 
and brought out Mr. Longmore and Laura in a state of picturesque 
dishabille. Joey Pike betook himself to the maids, and at the end of 
about five minutes the whole party were collected on the green, while a 
number of persons from the neighbouring cottages swarmed to the 
spot, and an engine came rattling up from the little town. Suddenly, 
however, Laura exclaimed — 

" Oh, dear, I have forgot ! Oh, dear, I have forgot !" And before 
any one could stop her she rushed back into the house by a small door 
which was tolerably free from the flames. Harry Worrel w^as at that 
moment working away in a different quarter to save some things for 
which Mr. Longmore was very anxious, but the moment he heard of 
Laura's proceeding, which was not till some little time had elapsed, he 
was rushing in after her like a madman, when he was stopped and for- 
cibly dragged back by two men, and in an instant after the roof fell in 
with a dreadful crash. 









Pandemonium was nothing to it, at least not the Pandemonium of 
Milton, which was, apparently, a well-regulated, quiet congregation of 
gentlemanly devils, and very much more orderly than most British 
Houses of Commons — especially since the reform bill. But, as I was 
saying. Pandemonium was nothing to it in any respect, except the fire ; 
for it is pi^obable that what Shakespeare calls " the everlasting bonfire," 
was a blaze or two stronger than the conflagration of poor Mr. Long- 
more's house. But, in one or two particulars, the burning of Ivy-hall 
certainly outdid the other place ; they might have plenty of demons in 
Hades, but they had no fire engines ; they had no constables, pretending 
to keep order, and creating confusion at every step ; they had no firemen ; 
they had 'no parish beadle ; they had no crowd of lookers-on, shout- 
ing, and roaring, and bellowing forth every sort of contradictory direc- 
tion ; they had no little boys crying out " My eye I" 

Thus, we may well say, that Pandemoniiun was nothing to the scene 
romid Mr. Longmore's house just at the moment when — about half an 
hour after the fire began — one-half of the people of the neighbouring 
manufacturing town, and a great nmnber from the country round, had 
found time to come up with engines, carts, water buckets, and constables* 
staves. The sights and the noises were all equally terrible ; the people 
were shouting, as we have said ; the cattle in the cow-house were bel- 
lowing ; the dogs were barking and howling ; the fire was roaring, and 
the engine pipes were hissing ; a good number of women were scream- 
ing, and some of the children, whose toes had been trod upon, were 
crying. Then as to the sights — fire and smoke were issuing from every 
window, and towering over the observatory ; while flames of every 
colour, that an infinite variety of chemical compounds could produce, 
were flickering over the walls, and casting the most extraordinary hues 
over the countenances of the spectators. Now, they were all as blue 
as bilberries with the flare up of spirits-of-wine and sulphur ; then 
they were as green as grass from the ignition of copper and muriatic 
acid ; then they were as yellow as a London fog ; and then they were 
as red as the sun when he struggles through it. Here was seen a 
chimney falling in ; there appeared a fireman perched upon a tottering 
c. — NO. III. F 


wall; in one place were two constables taking each other into custody 
by mistake ; in another, was an Irish engineer cutting off the fire by 
knocking down a small building, on the top of which a v»'hole brigade 
of his companions were standing ; and in the midst of a group of 
maids, fainting in the most determined manner, might be beheld Mr. 
Longmore tearing his hair, and Harry Worrel struggling violently 
with, two men who strove to hold him ; while on a little mound stood 
Joey Pike with his head turned away from the building, as if to kee}) 
his eyes from the sight, and his two hands extended towards it, much 
in the attitude of ohe of the yomig people in the faiiious group of Niobe 
and her children. 

" O Dio die penal cried Joey Pike." 

" Let me go, or by Heaven I will pitch you into the flames," exclaimed 

" My daughter, my poor girl I" said Mr. Longmore. " Oh, if you 
will get her out I will let her marry any one she likes.'' 

But it was all in vain ; nobody dared to approach the part of the 
building which Laura had entered, except Harry Worrel, and the two 
men who held him would not let him, although lie struggled with them 
most furiously, and would not listen to a word they said. He had 
nearly shaken off" their hold, however, when a third came Up and got 
hold of his collar behind, and, at the same time, a fourth appeared in 
front, presenting to his sight the never-to-be-forgotten or mistaken 
rubicund proboscis of Jeremy Tripe, looking in the hot blaze of the 
fire like a fresh-made beef sausage upon a gridiron. 

" Now," said Jerry, " now you've got one of them ; don't miss the 
-other two. There stands my friend Joey ; one of you two grab him, 
•and I'll take Tom with me, and get hold of IMaster Mousetrappico. 
Come along, Tom, get out your staff*, my man, for he's a cunning old 
blade, and up to a thing or two." 

Thus sayhig, he led the way up to the place where the chevalier 
stood, endeavouring to be consolatory upon Mr. Longmore ; and the 
gentleman, who was called Tom, laid his hand upon the commissioner's 
shoulder, thrusting a short ebony stick, with a brass crown on the toj) 
of it, into his face, and remarking pithily, " I apprehend you for 

\ " Indeed !" exclaimed the chevalier with a benignant smile, not at all 
unwilling to see all the phases of life in Great Britain. " Indeed ! 
Upon this business of Mr. Fitzurse, I suppose ?" 

" Exactly so, sir," replied the constable. 

" Well, then," rejoined the chevalier, looking full in the face of 
Jeremy Tripe, " every one present being a particeps criminis, I give 
this good gentleman with the rubicund gnomon in charge also ; for I'm 
resolved not to be without the pleasure of his company." 

Every part of the countenance of Jeremy Tripe ^\ liich could turn 
white did so, and the nose remained, like the top of Mont Blanc at 
sunset, still rosy with the light that had left the rest of his countenance. 
He loved hot the idea of prisons ; he was in no way fond of the idea 
of magisterial investigations ; but there was no help for it in the present 


Case. The charge was given ; the constable could not help taking 
him, and in a very few minutes the Chevalier de Lmiatico, Harry 
Worrel, Joey Pike, and Jeremy Tripe, were proceeding in a light cart 
towards the village of Outrun under the tender care of a couple of 

Constables, however, are, and ever have been, thirsty souls ; the fire 
at Ivy Hall had heated and dried them, at least so it seemed from the 
expressions they made use of; for one declared, close in the ear of Mr. 
de Lmiatico, that he would give something for a pot of beer to moisten 
his clay, and the other vowed that he was as thirsty as a sandpit iu 
the dog days. The chevalier did not take the hint: perhaps indeed did 
not understand it ; but Jeremy Tripe did both, and replied, " There is 
very good beer at the George, half a mile on the road. If you like to 
stop there for an hour I'll stand a pot or two." 

The chevalier listened with some attention, for although he had, as 
we have shown, acquired a marvellous knowledge of the English 
tongue, there vvas one branch of it of which he vras utterly ignorant, 
and that, one of the richest and most poetical of all its dialects ; I 
mean the language of the Elephant and castle, and the parts adjacent. 
Thus, though he easily conceived that the respectable butler of Lord 
Outrun was employing some sublime figure of rhetoric, yet he could 
not comprehend, even after much puzzling, how Mr. Tripe could starid 
a pot or tico. if he Iiad said that he would stand in a pot or two, the 
chevalier thought he could have seen some meaning ; but, as it was, he 
could only suppose that the pots were to be thrown at the worthy 
butler's head, which, he concluded, must be some sort of process in law 
peculiar to this country. 

" He says he will stand a jiot or two," remarked the chevalier in a 
low voice to Harry Worrel. " Shall we all have to go through the 
same ceremony ?" 

" I suppose so," said Worrel, in a tone of despair ; and the chevalier 
would have gone on, labouring under the same mistake, had not Mr. 
Tripe himself explained his own plans and piu-poses in a low and con* 
fidential tone. 

" You see," he said, " if I give them something to drink ^" 

" Oh !" said the chevalier, "that's what you mean by standing a pot 
or two, is it ?" 

" Exactly," answered Jerry ; " if I give them something to drink, Mr. 
Worrel must do the same, and you'll come in perhaps with something 
stronger, a go or two of moonshine, or something of that sort." 

" With all my heart," said the chevalier ; " that's quite in my way ; 
but what then ?" 

" W^hy, then, we'll make them drunk," said Jerry. *' I know Tom' the 
constable well enough. He never could resist liquor in his life, and 
yet when he gets it, he can't carry it. However we'll make them 
drunk, and then it will be easy enough for us to make our escape." 

" Rather a strange proceeding this on your part," said the chevalier, 
putting his hand in his pocket once more, " first to give me into custody, 
and next to help me to escape." 

" Ay, but I was not in the same basket at first," said Mr. Tripe ; 


" you checkmated me there, Master Pragmatico- Now that you have 
put me in the same unpleasant condition with yourself, I'll do my best 
to get out, even though I'm forced to take you along with me. I'll 
tell you what, old gentleman, if one could serve all lawgivers as you 
served me, and make them taste a touch of the rod that they pickle 
for other people, we should have a somewhat more humane statute- 
book than we have got. Many a judge may like hanging but not being 
hanged, and half the members of parliament who vote water-gruel for 
the poor, would make it turtle-soup if they had the eating of it. No, 
no, I'm not fond of being put in prison 'till the next assizes, it don't 
suit me at all." 

" But perhaps it may suit me," replied the chevalier ; " tastes may 
differ you know, Mr. Tripe ?" 

" Your's must be a rum 'un, then," rejoined the butler ; " but you'll 
never be such a fool surely as to keep Mr. Worrel here and our friend 
Joey in prison for a month, and very likely have them hanged after 
all, for a mere whim ?" 

" For &, frolic, perhaps !" said the chevalier with emphasis. " What 
say you, Joey ? Have you much aversion to see the inside of a prison ?" 
" Great," replied Joey, throwing out his right arm and laying his 
left hand vipon his breast, as if he were about to say — ' My name is 
Norval. On the Grampian hills my father feeds his flock — ' " Great, 
most potent, grave, and reverend signor ! Nevertheless I am ready to 
follow you to captivity and to death. 1 am your devoo-y. Let us go, 
sir, let us go," he continued, tossing aloft his arms — " sventurato io 
son. Yes, sir, I will go with you, and while we remain I will write 
with a calymo cowranty a history of i miei prigioni. We will be 
second Sylvia Pellicles.^* * 

" What the devil is he talking about ?" exclaimed the constable, who 
had caught a few of the last words. " If he don't mind I'll put the 
darbies on him." 

" No, no ; you won't, Tom," said Jerry Tripe. " We're all quiet 
respectable people, you know ; and besides, this sort of nm^der isn't 
like another, you know. Nobody's ever hanged for it. It's one of those 
diseases that cures itself. I heard the parson once say that in this, as 
in other instances, the enormity of the crime secured its impunity, and 
that gentlemen who commit murder aren't hanged like other men, be- 
cause they ought to know better. There's every reason why a juryman 
should perjure himself for a gentleman ; but there's no reason on earth 
why he should perjure himself for a beggar. It would be a hard case 
if those who make the laws and those who dispense them, have not a 
right to put by any little pet crimes for their own private picking. So 
as to putting any one into the darbies for having had a hand in a duel, 
that would be very improper indeed !" 

" Ay, ay," answered the constable, " that's true enough ; but we 
have not got this here fellow, 'cause of the trick in the lane. He's 
booked for the murder of old Toby Scapulary the clerk !" 

Joey Pike uttered a shriek. One would have supposed they had got 
Miss O'Neill acting Jane Shore in the cart. ** I knew it," he cried ; 
I knew it 1" 


" Then why the devil did you do it ?" said the constable. " But 
don't go on screeching in that v»'ay, or I'll handcuff you in good 

Joey, in the mortal agony which the thought of handcuffs produced, 
thrust the chevalier to one side of the cart and Harry Worrel to the 
other, knocked Jerry Tripe back by a kick in the stomach, and 
dropping gracefully upon one knee, with his head bent and his hands 
extended, remained in the position of Domenichino's St. Ann bowing 
her head for martyrdom. 

The constable was puzzled, and certainly would have handcuffed 
him to bring his graces to an end, but it was the story of the bell- 
ringer and the king : he had no handcuffs to put on, and Jerry Tripe 
recovering his position, bent his red nose benignly over Joey and 
interceded with the constable in moving terms. The latter suffered 
himself to be appeased, the discussion in regard to pots of beer was 
renewed, and after sundry soft solicitations Tom himself ordered the 
cart to stop at the road-side alehouse, and the prisoners were ushered 
into a room where the foaming tankard began to circulate freely at the 
expense of Mr. Tripe. Tom and his fellow^- constable did ample jus- 
tice to the goodness of the malt ; but after a while they found beer 
rather cold for the stomach, and the chevalier taking the butler's hint 
proposed some moonshine, which liowever cool in name proved some- 
what fiery in nature. Tom vowed he would take no more, but consented 
to drink a glass with Jerry ; then remarking the lachrymose state of 
Mr. Pike's face, he invited him to some half-and-half to cheer him ; 
then respectfully drank Mr. Worrel's health and then the chevalier's ; 
after which he repeated his vow, and like an honest man anxious to 
avoid temptation, made an effort to get upon his legs. By some pro- 
cess or another, however, a large quantity of lead seemed to have been 
transposed into his nether man. He was, in short, exactly like one of 
those little tumbling figures, whicli, whatever Avay you turn them, fall 
back upon the loaded end. Down he went upon his chair as often as 
he got upon his feet, and finding it impossible to contend with circum- 
stances, he determined to wait for a better opportunity, and while me- 
ditating upon the frailty of human nature, instinctively filled himself 
another glass. At the same moment, to his surprise and consternation 
his fellow-constable volunteered a song, and with unparalleled gene- 
rosity treated the company to the sound of his voice without reward, 
or pressing, or invitation either. 

constable's song. 

There was an old man, in "Warwick town, 

"Who wanted to treat a girl to a gown ; 

He went into a shop, with a hey-derry down, 
And took a piece off — hy mistake. 



The Bliopman lie gral)bed his neck in a trice, 
And said, he shoukl pay summat more than the price ; 
Or of Bottomy Bay he would give him a spice — 
And that without any mistake. 

*' I can't, indeed, Mr. President — I'm very hoarse — I've forgot tlie next 
stanza — there's no use pressing a man when he says he can t." 

" Timothy, you're drmik," hiccupped Tom his compeer. 

"Drunk! you lie, it's you are drunk!" and thereupon Tom be- 
coming pugnacious made a vast effort to rise from his seat for the 
purpose of knocking down Timothy ; but Jerry Tripe on this occasion 
generously interfered and brought about a reconciliation over a jorum 
of half-and-half, which left one constable in a fit of maudlin, and the 
other in that uproarious stage which very frequently precedes profound 

" Ay, Joey, Joey," cried Tom, addressing our poor friend Joey 
Pike, who had sat in deep despondency at one corner of the table ; 
" You're a good creature, Joey ; you're an excellent good creature 
npon my life. How could you think of murdering the poor old man ? — 

I loved old Scapulary, upon my sovd 1 did 1 loved old Toby 

Scapulary very much indeed 1 loved him like my brother. He 

buried my grandfather. — Indeed he did, dug the grave and all " 

and thereupon he burst into a profuse flood of tears. 

" Hi fal lal de ral tit," cried the other constable. " Jerry Tripe, 
here's to ye, old covey — you're a rum 'un as ever I see, with your nose 

like a beet-root, and your eye like an oyster — D n me why do 

you reel about in your chair? You're as drunk asT)avid's sow, Jerry — 
not the first time by some thousands, I should think — and there's 
Tom looks as if he had got two heads. He that never had half a one 

in his life What are you sitting so solemn for, Master Harry? You're 

drunk too ; stupid drunk, I suppose — that's worse than merry drunk 
like old Jerry Tripe." 

Worrel looked very much as if he would have knocked the constable 
down, but such an act would certainly have been an act of supereroga- 
tion ; for Timothy, by sundry curious evolutions, contrived to get hold 
of the gin bottle, made himself another glass of gin and water, one to 
two (by the inverse rule of three) stirred it up with the brass end of his 
constable's staff, drank off one half it, and then slipping over the 
bench on which he was sitting, came gently dovrn, with the back of 
his head leaning upon a chair in a corner, and his feet propped up by 
the bench, nearly on a level with the table. His companion, Tom, 
moralized over his fall, shed tears for his loss, and by immense exer- 
tions got himself upon his knees to pick liim up. But the effort extin- 
guished all that V, as left of power and reason in the body of Tom the 
constable, and falling athwart his friend they remained together on the 
floor, forming a St. Andrew's cross, the grace of which no one attempted 
to disturb. 

" Now, gentlemen," said Jerry Tripe, '^ I'm at your service. Mr. 
Extatico, with your leave we'll pay the bill, and be off, I know what 

v^Ac- ■ .. 


the score will be, so let every one put a couple of shillings into my hat, 
and then there will be no long reckoning in the tap." 

The matter was soon arranged to Mr. Tripe's satisfaction, the whole 
party walked out of the parlour, Jerry paid for all, and the landlord 
seemed not in the least disposed to bar their egress. The cai't still 
stood at the door and into it they all got, judging it would afford the 
quickest means of getting out of harm's way. The renoA\Tied Joey 
seized the reins, placed himself in the attitude of Phaeton in the frontis- 
piece to Garth's translation of Ovid, shook the reins and away they 
went. But after they had gone about a quarter of a mile, the judicious 
butler seized the youth's arm at the corner of a lane, and exclaiming, 
" Now, we'll bilk them !" informed his hearers that it would be better 
to descend and separate, tiu-ning the horse and cart into the lane, which 
led, he said, heaven only knows where, and in which it impossible 
for the beast to turn. The whip was ingeniously tied so as to dangle 
loosely over the horse's back, and a sound bastinado being applied 
to that part which was nearest the cart, he set off with as much 
rapidity as he could command, leaving deep tracks of the wheels 
behind him. 

" Excuse me if I don't invite you to my house," said Jerry Tripe, 
taking leave of his companions ; and without farther farewell he vaulted 
over a gate into the nearest field, and left the other three to pursue 
their course as they liked. '' 



*' Wheke shall we go now r" said the chevalier. 

" Ah, doaviey I indeed," said Joey Pike, in a desponding tone. 

" I care little wliere I go now," replied Worrel, in the accents of 
deep grief; " all the world is the same to me, and all is void." 

" Still," said the chevalier, " it is' perhaps necessary that %ve should 
find some place in which to pass the night ; otherwise we have made 
a bad exchange, from the cart for our conveyance, and a prison for 
our lodging, to our own legs and a dirty lane." 

" I am very selfish, I believe," replied Worrel ; " and certainl}', 
my dear friend, I have no right to make you suffer such incon- 
veniences. However, I can find you a place of shelter. About two 
miles across the moor, near the little village of Winterly, lies the 
cottage of my foster-mother, a widow woman with an only son. They 
see very little of the world there, so we shall be safe ; and, although 


she is gone to bed, poor thing ! long before this time, I can venture 
to knock her up." 

" A foster-mother ! a foster-motlier 1" cried the chevalier. " Have 
people two mothers in this country ? — How do they manage it r" 

" Sometimes it happens," answered Harry Worrel, " that mothers 
cannot nurse their own children. Sometimes nature, sometimes cir- 
cumstances forbid it. The former was the case with my poor mother, 
and 1 was nursed by this good woman whom I mentioned." 

" True, master Harry, true," replied Joey Pike ; " but you know 
there are plenty of mothers in England, who, with every sort of 
agreemang and commodity^ never think of nursing their poor babies 
at all. They turn over their children to mercenaires — all for fear of 
spoiling their hellezza^ 

" You must introduce me to a few of them, Joey," said the cheva- 
lier. " I think I should have a w ord or two to say to those women who 
deprive tJiemselves of that occupation for which nature seems to have 
reserved the combination of duty and delight. But let us get on 
whichever way we go. Here we are, standing in the middle of the 
road, and the moon is under a cloud." 

Harry Worrel, who was in no very loquacious mood, as the reader 
may well imagine, took the way in silence up the lane which led in the 
opposite direction to tliat in which the cart had been driven. The 
chevalier an(? Joey Pike followed, the one with his usual sedate 
demeanour, the other with the graceful step of an antelope ; and thus 
proceeding, they reached, in about ten minutes, a spot where, emerg- 
ing from between the hedges, the road issued forth upon a wide furze- 
covered common with marshy spots here and there, which occasionally 
deviated into glistening pools. The clouds were scudding lightly 
over the sky, like boys and girls at play on a wide waste ; while the 
moon, exercising her usual power, was every now and then poking 
through her round white face, like the usher popping in his head to see 
what they were all about. 

The road also, be it remarked, suddenly took a rise, as it issued forth 
from the lane ; and when the head of the chevalier came above the 
edge of the slope, he plainly saw, by the light of his native planet, the 
broad figure of a somewhat sturdy and thickset man about a couple of 
hundred yards in advance. He was standing quite still, and continued 
to do so for a minute ; but then, it would appear, he caught a sight 
of the approaching party, and — why, or wherefore, the chevalier did 
not know — he beat a retreat with great celerity. As the ground was 
uneven and Mr. Lunatico and his friends were themselves rather in a 
fugitive than a pursuing humour, the gentleman soon disappeared. 

After having gone half-a-mile along the sandy road of the common, 
they came to a spot where it branched out into three, wdth a finger 
post and a stone tablet bearing an inscription intended to cheer and 
console the wayfarer on his journey, by telling him that a pedlar had 
been murdered there ten years before, and that two sailors had been 
hanged for the offence. 

" I don't find it recorded," said the chevalier in an inquiring tone, 
«' that the hanging of the sailors brought the pedlar to life again." 


<' No ; it certainly did not," replied Worrel. 

" Then," answered the chevalier, " the less said about the nmatter the 
better. Which of these roads do we take r" 

" Neither," replied Worrel ; '• our best way will be across the 
moor ;" and thus saying, he tiu*ned his steps into a small little-trodden 
pathway, upon which he had scarcely advanced a quarter of a 
mile when up started the same figure that the chevalier had before 
seen, and once more made off as fast as possible, as if very much 
frightened by their approach. 

" 'Tis the shade of the pedlar," cried Joey Pike ; but the shade 
soon disappeared once more, and they pursued their way without seeing 
it again. After about a quarter of an hour's farther walking, they at 
length reached the cottage of W^orrel's foster-mother, which, notwith- 
standing his anticipations, still showed a light through the little lattice 

It was a lowly place in a lonely situation, with the thatched roof 
just high enough to give room for a doorway through which a man 
of moderate size could pass without stooping. There was a little 
garden before it, however, kept apparently with much neatness, and 
every thing indicated, that great care and pains had been taken to 
render it both as comfortable and as pretty as the bonds of poverty 
would permit. 

" Why, good Nelly Bain is up, it would seem," said Worrel, looking 
at the light. " I didn't know she kept such late hours — it must be 
near one o'clock ;" so saying, he advanced, and, after knocking at the 
door with his hand, lifted the latch and went in, followed closely by 
the chevalier and Joey Pike. The moment he did so, a woman of 
about forty-eight or forty-nine years of age, who must once have been 
very pretty, and who, even still, bore a sufficient trace of beauty to 
set at defiance the uglifying influence of a widow's cap and coarse 
black gown, started up, with a look of alarm, and gazed towards 
the door. 

" It is only I, Nelly," said Worrel, " do not be afraid. I thought I 
saw somebody come in just before us." 

" Oh! it was only Tom Smalldram, sir," said the widow. "He has 
been snaring rabbits on the common, and thought that some people 
were after him for poaching ; so I let him go through the house and 
out the back way. But I can't help being afraid, master Harry," she 
continued, fixing an earnest gaze upon Worrel's countenance, " and 
it's the sight of your face makes me so. What should you come here 
for at this time of night, if it was not to tell me that something had 
happened to him ?" 

" Oh no, Nelly,'* replied Worrel, " I have nothing to tell you. 
The truth is, I want you to give us shelter till to-morrow morning, 
I have been unfortunate enough to shoot Mr. Fitzurse in a duel, and 
the people are seeking to apprehend me.'* 

"To shoot Mr. Fitzurse!" exclaimed Nelly Bain, clasping her 
hands. " Good heaven, how strange !" 

" It is strange," answered Worrel, "that my uncle should have had 

74' . THE COMMiSSIONEil ; o% 

the same fate with liis father. But where is your son, Nelly ? where 
is Will?" 

" Ay, sir, that is what makes me uneas}^" said the widow. " Will 
was never out so late as this in his life ; he went to get sea-fowl's 
eggs. Master Harry, along the cliffs, and he has never come back, 
though he set out at three o'clock. 

" That is strange," said Worrel ; " but perhaps he has gone down 
to the fire." As he uttered that word, the memory of all the horrible 
circumstances connected with the burning of Mr. Longmore's liouse 
seemed to rush back upon his brain with more terrible vividity than 
ever. At first he had been stunned and crushed, as it were, by the 
blow he had received ; and afterwards, all the particulars of his arrest 
and escape, though they cannot be said to ha^e diverted his mind from 
the gTief that possessed it, had yet confused and embarrassed his ideas ; 
so that, as he walked along, all the incidents of the last four-and-twenty 
hours — the duel, the death of his adversary, the blood brought upon 
his own hand, the flight, the quarrel with Mr. Longmore, the fire, the 
loss of poor Laura — had all been floating before his eyes together, a 
mixed and seemingly inextricable crowd of images : but now, at the 
word " the fire," as if by magic, every thing else disappeared, and the 
death of her he loved better than all else on earth, stood forth alone 
before his sight, the one dark, terrible spot, which shut out the prospect 
of hope and happiness for ever. " The fire, the horrible fire !" he re- 
peated, and down he sank on one of the wooden chairs, and covered 
his eyes with his hand. 

The chevalier was approaching to offer him consolation; but just 
at that moment there was a sound of feet without, and people speaking 
in low tones, and a smothered groan. Then came a tap at the door, 
and a rough sailor-looking man, in an oil-skin hat, put in his head, 
saying in a kindly tone, "Sorry to tell ye, Mrs. Bain, Will's had a bad fall." 

" Where is he ? where is he ?" cried the widow, clasping her hands, 
and rushing towards the door. 

" Bad accident I am afraid, ma'am," said the fisherman, still stand- 
ing in her way. " Nov/, don't fluster yourself: there's a good soul. 
We'll bring him in. Wliere shall we lay him ?" 

The widow put her hand to her heart, as if she could grasp it tight 
to stop its beating. " There, there !" she said, pointing to a bed that 
stood in a corner of the room. " Ah! my boy, my poor boy V 

They brought him in lying in the sail of a boat, and a dreadful 
sight it was to see ! He was a fine, tall young man, a little older than 
Worrel himself, with good features and powerful limbs ; but his coun- 
tenance was now deadly pale — a bloody handkerchief was bound round 
his brow — one hand was grasping convulsively the edge of the sail — the 
other lay by his side with that powerless lassitude which showed that 
the arm was broken. The right leg and thigh bent in two places 
where there was no joint : the eyes v/ere closed ; and the only thing 
that told that life still lingered was, a convulsive groan and a tremu- 
lous movement of the under jaw. The face, the hands, the clothes, 
were dabbled all over with blood and dirt j and so great and terrible 

DE LUXATTCO inquihexdo. 75 

was the change, the mother could scarcely recognise her son. They 
laid him gently down upon the bed, and put a pillow under his head ; 
and the widow, stealing forward with clasped hands, sank upon her 
knees by his side, and gazed at his face. Every one was silent for a 
minute : there was not a sound but the ticking of the wooden clock, and 
the deep-drawn sigh of the wounded man. 

The silence and the repose seemed to rouse him : he opened his 
faint eyes, but they were dimmed with the shadow of death. He rolled 
them languidly round, and strove to speak, it seemed. For a moment 
there was no sound, but the next instant two or three words broke from 
his lips, and told the secret of his greatest agony, even in that agonizing 
hour. " Oh, my mother !" he said, "my mother!" 

It was all he could utter ; and she bent down her head over his face, 
and washed it with her tears. 

" We found him lying mider a rock, sir," said the fisherman, ad- 
dressing in a low tone Harry Worrel. " He must have tumbled from 
the top of the cliif." 

" Send somewhere immediately for a surgeon," said the chevalier in 
his prompt manner. " Life is still in him, and recollection : the brain, 
therefore, is safe. Get a horse, and bid the man gallop. No one can 
tell that the fine tie between spirit and matter may not be reunited." 

" If any one can splice them," said the fisherman in the same tone, 
" it is Mr. Longshanks, the siu-geon in the village. I'll rim and fetch 

Harry Worrel had approached the bed, and seeing some clammy 
froth round the dying man's lips, he got a cup of water, and moistened 
them gently. The cool liquid refreshed him, and looking up in the 
young gentleman's face, he gazed wistfully at it for a moment, then 
turned his look to the widow and shut his eyes, murmuring once more, 
" Oh my mother! my mother!" 

Harry Worrel understood his feelings, for he knew that they Avere 
very poor, and that William Bain had devoted the prime of his young 
and healthy days to support his surviving parent, and make her wi- 
dowed life pass happily. His foster-brother's words then went to his 
heart, and that heart was a kind one. So, bending down his head, he 
said, in a low but clear voice, " Fear not for your mother. Will ! While 
I have a guinea in the world she shall share it." 

A momentary light came into the young man's eyes : he looked up 
and smiled. In another instant the light was extinguished, but the 
smile rem.ained. His lips moved not, his eye became glassy. There 
was a very slight shudder. Worrel looked eagerly in his face — the 
smile was there still, but it hung on the lips of the dead. 

The widow had buried her eyes upon her son's bosom, and saw 
not the change that had taken place. No one was found to tell her ; 
and it was only the solemn silence that at length roused lier with a suspi- 
cion of the truth. She started up — she gazed upon his face — she sav/ 
the truth : the last hope went out ; and, with a wild scream, she fell 
fainting by tlie side of her child. 

Ere many minutes had passed, quick steps were heard : the door was 


thrown unceremoniously open, and in rushed a, personage in every way 
peculiar. He was a tall, long-sided, lankey man, with much more 
bone than muscle. He seemed to be about fifty-eight or fifty-nine 
years of age, with his grey hair tied in a queue behind ; a face florid and 
somewhat weather-beaten, a nose bearing evident symptoms of having 
contended for half a century with the easterly wind, keen grey eyes, 
under very rough eye brows, and a benignant expression about the 
mouth, strongly opposed to the sharp and searching look of the upper 
part of the face. On his head he wore a small cocked hat, tied on, to 
keep it from blowing away, by a red silk handkerchief ; and the rest of 
his dress consisted of a straight-cut, long-waisted black coat, a waist- 
coat with large flaps, a very small pair of breeches, and silk stockings 
completed by buckles at the knee and in the shoes. 

" So the fool has fallen over the crag and broken his leg," he ex- 
claimed in a rough tone, as he entered. " What the devil did he • 

Ha ! How is this ?" he continued, suddenly changing his tone to one of 
deep compassion, as he beheld the spectacle which that sad cottage 
presented. " Eh ? dead ! Poor fellow ! poor fellow ! He was a good 
son ! he was a good son ! He's gone to heaven ! he's gone to lieaven ! 
Nelly Bain, I tell you your son's gone to heaven. What the devil are 
you crying for ? May we all follow him right soon : so say I." 

" She has fainted, my good friend," said Worrel. 

" Fainted I" cried the surgeon, " fainted ! so much the better. That's 
the way with women. D — n them I they get rid of half their sorrows 
that way. Take her up and carry her down to my house. Tell the 
housekeeper to put her quietly to bed, and sit with her. I'll come 
down and bleed her presently. Gently, gently my men : don't put her 
on the sail that is wet with her son's blood. Bring a mattrass out of 
the other room, and you two, lubbers, carry her down as carefully as if 
she were a cask of spirits. Don't try to rouse her up : the longer she 
faints the better." 

The men obeyed his orders implicitly, seeming to look to him with 
a degree of respect which amounted to veneration — and if the truth 
must be told he deserved it ; for never was there a kinder heart 
covered with a more odd and whimsical veil. 

" Ah, poor fellow !" he said, apostrophising the dead body, " Ah, 
poor fellow ! you have gone a day too soon. Sad work this, sad work. 
One never can get the fools that this world contains to be cautious. If 
it were but the breaking of their own necks one wouldn't care ; but 
they have no right to break necks that are useful to other people. 
Poor fellow !" he continued, turning to the chevalier, who stood at the 
head of the bed, and addressing to him as a stranger his little eulogy of 
William Bain. " He was as good a young man, sir, as ever lived on 
this side of heaven — as kind a heart, as quiet and yet as brave a spirit ; 
a friend to all around him — his mother's support and only treasure, and 
the love of a young heart that will soon be breaking. Poor fellow ! 
he's gone, and it's all over, and may we all soon go after him, so say I.'* 

There was a trickling drop in the good surgeon's small grey eye 
which made him feel that if he went on any farther with the subject of 


William Bain he would make a fool of himself as he called it, and 
tm-ning his look to Worrell, of whom he had taken no great notice 
hitherto, he said, abruptly, " Ah, there's another bad job ! This is a 
night of misfortunes." 

" It is, indeed," replied Worrel, with a bitter sigh. 

" And you must begin this pretty day's work, Harry Worrel," con- 
tinued the surgeon, " by shooting a drunken foOl mIio deserved nothing 
better or worse than to be dragged through a horsepond ! How could 
you expect the day would end well, when you began it in such a manner ? 
but never mind, the thing's done; and, as I suppose, you're running 
away from justice, and want to keep out of a prison, you must come 
down to my house, there's plenty of room to stow you away, and Joey 
Pike, too, who, I suppose, is art and part in the business ; he always 
has a finger in every fool's pie" 

All this was delivered in a bullying sort of tone, as if the good doc- 
tor had an especial commission to scold all the world ; but Worrel 
knew him of old, and was well aware that underneath all his chiding 
there was a deep regard for himself, Harry Worrel, and the tenderest 
affection for the whole human race. He replied, however, " I cannot 
think of leaving my friend the Chevalier de Lunatico, who is a stranger 
in this country, and whom I have got into the same scrape with myself." 

" Devil take him ! he was your second, I suppose. I hate seconds 
worse than principals. However," he continued, turning to the cheva- 
lier, and feeling that irresistible communicativeness coming over him 
with which Mr. de Lunatico's presence always affected his companions, 
" nevertheless I like your phiz, old gentleman ; so that if you will come 
down with my friend Harry here I shall be glad to see you, and will 
try to keep you all snug till the trial comes on.'* 

The chevalier was in the act of making some little difficulty, and ex- 
pressing a fear that they might crowd and incommode the good doctor, 
but Mr. Longshanks cut him short at once, exclaiming, " Well, well, 
come if you like it ; don't come if you don't. As to room, there's 
plenty of room in my house ; as to convenience, I shall be very happy 
to see ye. I never tell a lie, sir, for any man, and would not say I 
wished you to come if I did not. I hate the filthy falsehoods of society ; 
so now let us go." 

He added a few words in low tones to the people around, in regard 
to watching the body of the young sailor, caUing a coroner's inquest, 
&c., and then led the way from the moor down towards the little vil- 
lage, which stood at the distance of about a quarter of a mile from the 
cottage. It consisted of, perhaps, fifty small houses, one moderate- 
sized one, and one large mansion within its own grounds. The middle- 
sized house was that of the vicar, the mansion belonged to our good 
friend the doctor, who it must be said, had been for about ten years of 
his life a surgeon in India, where he had amassed a large fortune by 
happy accidents, and came home to spend it for the benefit of his fellow 
creatures. As soon as he reached his house, and had ushered his guests 
into a large and fine library, he left them to visit the poor widow and 
give her help and consolation in liis own peculiar wa}'. 

'?$ THE commissioner; ok, 

After conversing with the chevalier for a few minutes, and giving 
him a little insight into the character of his host, Worrel, too, left him, 
saying — " I am only fit to be alone, chevalier ; I will go and seek the 
housekeeper and make her show me which is to be my room." 

Joey Pike had by this time betaken himself to the kitchen, and the 
chevaUer was left alone with the spirits of dead men in their books. 



The che^^alier was not long alone, for, v/hen excited, the proceedings of 
worthy Mr. Longshanks were generally as abrupt and rapid as his speech, 
and in about a quarter of an hour the creaking of his shoes — all slices 
creak that have silver buckles in them — was heard indicating his approach 
to the door of the library. As he entered, he shot a quick glance round 
the room, as if his eyes were in search of Harry Worrel ; but not 
finding him, he settled the whole matter in his own mind in a moment — - 
for that said mind of his was a sword with a very quick and trenchant 
blade, and, like that of the greatest man of oiu* own days, though it 
did not always strike in the right direction, whichever way it did strike, 
it was sure to go straight through. 

" Ha !" he said, " Harry Worrel not here — gone to bed — best thing 
he could do. Of all the medicines man ever invented, my dear sir, 
there is not one worth a farthing, for mind and body, in comparison with 
the single one that nature gave us — sleep. It has been a bad day, indeed, 
a very bad day ; battles, murders, and sudden death, with the addition 
of fire, make a pretty little slice out of the things we pray against. 
However, let us throw off care for half an hour before we go to bed — I 
never like to sleep upon the troubles of the day without an interval ; 
one's intellectual stomach gets an indigestion. If I have a friend here, 
I talk to him about matters totally indifferent ; if I am alone I take 
up a book — it is exercise after supper." 

" I see," said the chevalier in a leading tone, " that you are very fond 
of moral philosophy ; at least if I may judge by the books I find round 
me here." 

" Yes, sir, yes," replied the surgeon, "it's a taste I got in India." 

" Why I should think," said the chevalier, " from all I have heard of 
the luxury and sensuality of those parts of this globe, that it would 
not be exactly the place for acquiring a taste for mental recreations." 
^ . " For that very reason, for that very reason," replied Mr. Long- 


ehanks," "every thing there was material from morning to night. For 
three years I had nothing but mangoes and muUagatawney soup, danc- 
ing girls and boar spearing, cholera and cosmetics, ciu'ry and Hodson's 
pale ale. I got sick of it, sir ; my soul was shut up in a box. I wrote 
home for Hobbes and Voltaire, Descai'tes and Pascal, Reid and 
Dugald Stewart, Condorcet and Hume, and laying them all down on 
the table I left them to run their heads together. It was a sharp en- 
counter, sir, as ever you saw ; but I found that if tiie materialists had 
>the most wit, the spiritualists had the most sense. That brought me 
a good way over ; but two things convinced me, which were, to find that 
tlie spiritualists were humble while the materialists were conceited, and 
that the former strove to be clear while the latter strove to be brilliant." 

" Convinced you of what, may I ask ?" said the chevalier ; " a man of 
your sense I am siu-e would not let your being convinced of the good- 
ness of the men, convince you of the goodness of their reasoning ?" 

" No, no ; certainly not," answered Mr. Longshanks, " but it con- 
vinced me that the one set were seeking for trutli even if they did not 
find it, and that the other were only seeking tlieir own vanity even if 
they stumbled upon truth by chance. Now as I am much more likely 
when I v.ant a fish to get it from a fisherman than a foxhunter, I was 
convinced that the best way to find truth was, to follow those who were 
really looking for it. Thus, sir, I went out to India, not an unbeliever 
but a sceptic, and I came back a very profound believer in every thing 
that man can know of things beyond his immediate senses." 
' " I am very happy to hear it, sir," said the chevalier, " for we, poor 
people in the moon " 

" Ho, ho ! sir,' cried Mr. Longshanks, you come from the moon, do 
you? Sir, I am very happy to see you ; but you were going to say — " 

" That we poor people in the moon," continued tlie chevalier, " know 
something about those matters — we have schools for doubting, and in 
the capital city of St. Luke there is an annual distribution of medals 
and rewards for the greatest proficiency in scepticism. I myself had 
the honour last year of awarding the great gold medal to a young man 
w ho had arrived at the point of doubting whether his eyes were in the 
back or the front of his head. He very ingeniously proved that to 
those who were standing behind him his back was his front, and he de- 
monstrated his ov/n state of doubt upon the subject by running a fork 
into the back of liis neck, thinking that he was carrying a piece of 
meat to his mouth." 

" Ha, ha, ha !" cried Mr. Longshanks, " may I ask how the inferior 
medals were distributed ?" 

" Why I cannot remember all," said the chevalier, " but the small 
gold medal was bestowed upon an old gentleman who wrote an essay 
to show that there was a great probability of man having been origi- 
nally a louse, produced spontaneously at first by the movement of 
matter, and gradually brought, in the course of many thousand years, 
to his present state by the agglomeration of atwns. For thirty years 
he went on breeding monkeys, and regularly rubbing them down every 
day with all sorts of animal atoms, in the hope that before he had done 

80 THE commissioner; or, 

with them they would make a move towards mankind ; but alas ! they re- 
main monkeys still — tliougli one raised his master into an ecstasy by eating 
his own tail, and another grew scabby and all his hair came oft", which he 
considered as clear approximations to humanity, and expected them soon 
to speak. However, ere a week was over they ' died and made no sign.' " 

" There were silver medals, too, doubtless," said Mr. Longshanks, 
better disposed, perhaps, to hear more of the universities of the moon 
than the reader may be. 

" Oh, a great many," replied the chevalier, " and leaden ones like- 
wise ; but the only essay that I at present recollect as having gained a 
silver medal was won by a young man who contended that it was ma- 
thematically impossible that there could be a God; for, said he, if 
there were such a being as God he must have made all the worlds 
square, not round, seeing that they would pack the better." 

" I should think he deserved a gold medal," said Mr. Longshanks. 

" No, no," cried the chevalier, " not according to our rules and re- 
gulations. His was a positive proposition, and he had very nearly lost 
the medal altogether from the want of a sufficient portion of scepticism. 
If he had said that he doubted, &c. &c. he would have been better oft"." 

" Pray," said the surgeon, " who is at the head of your sceptical 
university ? He must be a well-known man of course ?" 

" He's an old Greek," said the chevalier, " of the name of Pyrrho ; 
but he is nearly past his work, and would be very inefficient if it Avere 
not for a gentleman of great learning and activity of the name of 
Bayle, who is sub-rector. Besides these, however, we have amongst 
the professors one half of the writers you mentioned a few minutes ago, 
and a great many others. A gentleman of the name of Berkeley 
amongst the rest, who keeps the high school, and has convinced all the 
boys that there is no such thing as either birch or bottom. They cry 
manfully when they are flogged nevertheless." 

" I thought so, I thought so," cried Mr. Longshanks ; " and so, I fear, 
many others will cry when their theories are put to the proof in another 
world. But I can assure you, my dear sir, we have many as great fools 
here, many who deserve to be sent up to your planet for tricks not less 

" I know it," answered the chevalier, " and between you and I that 
is the cause of my coming. But pray let me hear a little how you got 
over all the difficulties that beset one in the world of metaphysics ; 
the doctrines of innate and abstract ideas, the beneficence of the deity 
and existence of evil, God's foreknowledge and mans' freewill." 

" A wide subject, my dear chevalier, a wide subject," replied the 
surgeon, " and you and I would both be dozing if I were to attempt 
to trace step by step the reasonings that convinced me. To prove 
the excellence of my own process would be long, to prove the folly of 
those of my opponents, however, is not so difficult. There are some 
of them that are more philologists than philosophers, some that are 
neither ore nor the other. The latter, not finding separate words to 
express distinct things, use the same term with half-a-dozen diftierent 
significations ; first puzzling themselves, and then puzzling their readers.- 


The former, when they don't find terms to express all the multifarious 
objects of thought, deny the existence of those objects themselves, as if 
facts depended upon languages. Thus, one man has denied that there 
is such a thing as mind, because the Anglo-Saxon does not bear it out. 
Another declares that to think is but to remember, because in the 
meagre barbarism of early tongues, the two operations were compounded 

"As to fate and freewill," said the chevalier, " the foreknowledge 
of God, and our responsibility for our own actions, of course you are 
obliged to deal with such subjects in metaphysical inquiries ; but for 
an ordinary man, methinks the best plan is, to establish as a first principle, 
that his own comprehension is limited ; that God gives him to under- 
stand what is good for him to know, but has fixed a boundary to the 
powers of his mind as well as to the powers of his body ; and to rest 
satisfied wherever he can prove the existence of a certain fact, even 
without being able to show its compatibility with another." 

".Stay, stay," said Mr. Longshanks, "I'll show you fate and freewill 
in a moment." 

He rang the bell sharply, and a man-servant appeared with the least 
possible loss of time. " Peter," said Mr. Longshanks, " there are 
some nuts on the dining-room sideboard. Bring them here, and a 
dry soup plate." 

The servant disappeared, the soup plate, the nuts, and a pair of nut- 
crackers were soon brought. Mr. Longshanks cracked one which 
seemed to the chevalier to be a remarkably good nut indeed, but the 
surgeon threw it impatiently under the grate. Another and another 
succeeded, till at length he cracked one which was palpably rotten. 

" This will do," said the moral philosopher, and carefully extracting 
a large lively maggot from the interior, he laid it down in the centre 
of the empty plate. Away wriggled the little white gentleman as hard 
as he could go towards the side of the plate, apparently not liking his 
new quarters at all, but whenever he came to the raised edge and lifted 
himself up it, down he rolled again into the plain part below. The 
chevalier and the surgeon looked down upon him as he made the 
attempt half a dozen times, and at length bursting into a laugh, 
Mr. Longshanks exclaimed, " There is man ! See how he exercises his 
freewill, and see how fate brings it all to the same in the end. He 
can turn which way he pleases, he can wander hither or thither without 
any one asking him why he turns to the right or to the left ; but the 
magic circle of circumstances is round him on every side, and no 
effort can overcome the insurmountable barrier placed by the will of 

"A curious and excellent illustration surely," said the chevalier; 
but Mr. Longshanks was not disposed to take the compliment as it was. 

" Not at all, " he said, " not at all, if by the word curious you mean 
extraordinary. Such illustrations of divine truths are placed before us 
at every step, but we do not see them. From one thing we have a 
lesson of His power; from another, of His wisdom ; from another, of His 
mercy. Here we learn God's delight in the beautiful; a step farther, 
c. — NO. m. G 


we find the beautiful blending with the useful and good. As our 
minds expand, we find that the beautiful itself, as well as the good, is 
but the varied expression of God's infinite excellence; that there is one 
universal harmony throughout the whole of nature, and that it but 
wants the elevation of our soul, — in other words, for us, as the Gospel 
teaches, to be perfect as God is perfect, in order to feel the mighty and 
entrancing music of the whole universe. He has spread out before us 
in his works, a book replete with every sort of wisdom, but man, blind 
man, will not read the pages where he might find happiness as well as 

The chevalier mused. "Funny," he thought, " very funny, that a man 
filled with such ideas should illustrate his doctrines by a maggot. I 
can't help thinking he must be one of us." 

Resolved, however, to take farther time to meditate over the matter, 
ne expressed a sense of weariness and an inclination to retire to rest. 

" I will lend you a nightcap," said the surgeon. 

" I tha,nk you, sir," replied Mr. de Lunatico, " but I never use one : 
I find it necessary to keep my head cool. But as my travelling port- 
manteau is unfortunately left at Mr. Longmore's, I should be glad if 
you would have the kindness to let one of the villagers fetch it early 
to-morrow morning." 

" Why, sir, do you not know that Ivy-Hall is burnt?" exclaimed the 
surgeon. " I do not doubt in the least, that that old fool Longmore has 
set the place on fire himself with some of his stupid inventions. But 
at all events, you may look upon your portmanteau as a cinder^ — dust 
and ashes, sir. Dust and ashes 'is all remains of thee, portmanteau ! 'tis 
what thou art, and Avhat the proud shall be.'" 

"I think not," replied the chevalier; "my portmanteau is fire-proof. 
It is made of moon calf-skin, which is nearly as good for keeping out 
light and heat as a tanned reviewer." 

The chevalier's host stared, but Mr. de Lunatico nodded his head 
in his peculiarly impressive maimer, saying, " Ay, sir, there are more 
things between heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philoso- 
phy," and Mr. Longshanks not having considered the matter well, made 
no reply, but took up a candle, lighted it, and conducted the chevalier 
to his room. 






It might be a curious case of casuistry to inquire whether it is more 
difficult to drive three pigs or one ; for as every one who has tried the 
adventure must know, Mhen you try to drive three pigs they will 
go all manner of ways, and one, but too often, will go no way at all. 
However that may be, the person who drives the three will soon find, 
that he must keep continually running from one to the other in order 
to get them on upon the same line ; and thus it is with the three 
principal personages of this history, each of whom we are obliged to 
follow, in order to whip him to a par with the others. Joey Pike is 
the victim whom we must now undertake. Bred and brought up in 
the neighbourhood, he was as well acquainted with the penetralia of 
Mr. Longshank's house as any of the ofiiciating priests, and plunging 
at once into the servants' hall, he was received with that profound 
respect which his character and acquirements deserved. We cannot 
pause to describe the infinite variety of attitudes in which he saluted 
the cook, received the courteous welcomings of the housemaid, noticed 
the kitchenmaid, bowed to the lackey ; suffice it to say, that in each 
was grace indescribable, and in each the degree of condescension and 
familiarity was proportioned to the state and station of the person 
addressed. Neither can we pause in this place to repeat his sayings, 
culled from all the languages, which, like a rich hot-house, supplied 
the various exotic flowers of rhetoric to ornament his profuse eloquence., 
While the cook was thunderstruck with a volley of Italian, and the 
housemaid overwhelmed by a tender allusion in French, he even 
knocked down the groom with a mouthful of hard-dried German, 
and overawed the footman with a rotund phrase of Spanish picked 
up at Gibraltar. We must despatch the period of his stay in the 
lower regions as quickly as possible, nor even tell what were the 
accompaniments to a large griskin of roast pork which came hissing 
in for the servants' supper. 

" Ha !" cried Joey, as soon as he beheld it, placing a chair for the 
cook with the dignified submissiveness of a lord chamberlain, and 
regarding with a sweet complaisant smile the brown expanse of crack- 
ling. " Ha ! here is what my Portuguese friends call a ros-heefey de 
porco; and a most eocquis supper it is before one lays one's head down 
upon one's orrily^r" 


*' They may call it what they like," said the groom, in a grumbling 
tone, " but I wish it had been a little more ros-heefeyed while they 
were about it." 

As the groom said, so it proved, the pork was somewhat under- 
done, but in every other respect it was very good. Joey was power- 
fully hungry, and before he retired to rest for the night, certainly not 
less than a pound and a quarter of the savoury griskin had disappeared, 
under his own individual efforts. 

Sleep, dear reader, has been compared to many things, and doubt- 
less you think that all comparisons are exhausted. As this book, how- 
ever, is altogether new — new in its character and object, conduct and 
circumstances — we must also have a new comparison for the drowsy 
dame. Sleep is like Timotheus ! — How ? where ? when ? in what manner ? 
in which respect ? under what aspect ? in what point ? and to what 
degree ? How can sleep be like a fiddler ? Why, ladies and gentlemen, 
the great musician, as the very first step after taking any disciples 
under his care and guidance, taught them to forget all they knew ; and 
thus is sleep like Timotheus. And the very same lesson did she 
practise upon our dear friend, Joey Pike, as soon as his head had 
touched the pillow, sweeping away French and Italian, German and 
Spanish, and a great many other cobwebs, with the broom of forget- 
fulness, and leaving him there without thought, and well nigh with- 
out feeling, ready for her to play any vagary with that she might 
think fit. Joey, to say the truth, would have had no objection to this 
proceeding on the part of the goddess with the leaden mace, if she had 
but thought fit to stop there, leaving him in calm oblivion, like the 
fat weed on Lethe's shore, that the poet talks of. But Joey had 
eaten a pound and a quarter of pork : the pork was underdone, and 
Joey's dreams were troublous in no ordinary degree. Joey Pike had the 
nightmare then, but as all his fancies were peculiar, his nightmares 
were peculiar also. At first he thought that he was in a room 
with an immense goose pie perched upon a high table, and well pleased 
was he with the company of the sapient fowl, especially in its peculiar 
condition at that moment. He thought of livers and gizzards, and 
jellied sauce full of pepper. He contemplated with pleasure the image 
of a goose's head formed of crust, which surmounted the whole dish, 
and he seemed to snuff the odour, though it was through the olfactories 
of imagination. Gradually, however, the goose pie increased in 
volume ; the crusty image nodded vast and large as the helmet of 
Otranto, the rim of the dish became imminent, each nick in the paste 
grew colossal, the brown stains on the porcelain seemed magnified by 
a gas microscope, the table was crushed under its weight, the room 
grew too narrow to hold it ; larger and larger, vaster and more vast, 
this ambitious pie, bent upon its own personal aggrandizement like 
Napoleon Bonaparte, swallowed up all minor things around, till poor 
Joey Pike, in mortal terror, saw it bulging out towards him, and 
looked round, but looked round in vain for door or window by which 
to make his escape. Between him and the entrance extended the vast 
pie, and nothing but a faint glimmering of light from the window 


could be seen over the crust as it towered towards the ceiling. He 
shrunk back against the wall, he rushed into the corner, but still the 
terrible pie increased, approaching him inch by inch, and possessing 
within itself the powers of infinite expansion. It came nearer and 
nearer — he felt it touching against his nose, pressing against his 
stomach, treading upon his toes ; till mortal nature would bear no 
more, and with a loud groan he woke. 

For a minute or two he lay actually shaking, and exclaiming 
" Corpo de Bacco !" which the reader will admit was a very appro- 
priate ejaculation. A little reflection, however, calmed him completely, 
and as he recollected all the particulars of his dream, he determined 
to write it down and send it to Blackwood s Magazine, He spent a 
few minutes in arranging it into a regular narrative ; but composing 
books in the dark is a drowsy occupation, and ere he had turned many 
periods Joey was asleep again. His pork, however, was not so 
quiescent, and remained as firm and as heavy as ever upon his stomach. 
But this time it produced a different effect : after lying for about half 
an hour in what seemed a deep strong sleep, Joey Pike moved a leg 
and an arm, then raised himself and got up. Pray, reader, remark, I 
say he got up, I don't say he woke. Without bestowing the necessary 
pains upon his apparel he made his way straight to the door, and 

" Seemed to find his way without his eyes, 
For out of doors he went without their help." 

That is to say, in plain prose, he opened the door of his room, de- 
scended the staircase, unchained, unlocked, unbolted the door of the 
house, and walked quietly out upon the neat gravel walk, being all 
this time in a state much nearer approaching to nudity than was at all 
convenient or respectable. Had any of the members of the society for 
the suppression of vice met him in that state, poor Joey would have been 
very likely to have, what a thief with whom I have the honour of being 
acquainted calls, a month's walk round a rolling-pin ; by which I take 
it he means a month at the tread-mill. Joey, however, was fortunate: 
first, in being sound asleep all the time, and thus being imconscious of 
the predicament in which he placed himself; and secondly, in not 
meeting a single soul as he walked quietly up towards the moor. The 
world, however, was unfortunate ; for certainly it would have been a 
glorious sight to see our good friend Joey advancing upon tiptoes, with 
all the graces of an Apollo in a cutty sark, throwing himself into all 
manner of attitudes, and doubtless all the while thinking himself, in the 
innermost parts of his sleeping soul, fit for a model for any statuary. 
The world in general, however, was denied the treat ; and it was re- 
served for one who neither deserved, appreciated, nor understood it. 

On walked Joey quietly till he reached the cottage of poor widow 
Bain. What it was impelled him heaven only knows : he might be 
brought there by some reminiscence of the events of the night troubling 
the quiet march of sleep; he might be led by the hand of his good 
genius for his own salvation, for great and important were the results 
of that walk to our friend Joey Pike. 

86 THE commissioner; oh, 

Without the slightest pause or hesitation he approached, as I have 
said, the door, put his hand upon the latch, opened, and went in. There 
was a liglit within, and, moreover, an old woman, left to watch the dead 
body, according to the directions which had been given by Mr. Long- 
shanks. Like most other watchers, she was sound aslet^p ; and had Joey 
Pike come thither with the intention of snatching the body, or any thing 
else, he would have had no difficulty in accomplishing his purpose. As 
we ha\ie shown, however, poor Joey was asleep too ; but now a change 
came over him. Whether it was that his sleep came to its predestined 
conclusion, or that the rays of light, suddenly striking upon the door of 
the retina gained admission into the house and woke the tenant, who 
shall say ? Suddenly, Joey Pike was roused from his sleep, and, like 
our wicked first parents in Paradise, knew that he was naked. He gazed 
round him for an instant in wonder and astonishment, not forgetting, 
even in that moment of surprise, the graces with which nature had so 
plentifully endowed him. Of him at that moment it might well be said : 

" So stands the statue that enchants the world." 

There he was, however, in the middle of the cottage-floor with 
nothing upon him but his shirt! There could be no doubt of the fact, 
although in other respects he had some doubts of his existence alto- 
gether. A few moments' reflection brought various forgotten matters 
back to his mind. " Diantre r cried Joey, " I have been walking in my 
sleep again ! I am /a Somnambiila ! — I had better get out of this, however, 
sang delay, for the old woman is as sound as a roach. Quelbonhoorr 

Thus saying, and on tiptoes, Joey reapproached the door, which, for 
some reason to himself unknown, he had carefully shut. Lifting the 
latch without the slightest noise, he drew back the door in the same 
silent manner, and was issuing out once more in the open air, with the 
view of making the best of his way back to the house of Mr. Long- 
shanks, when suddenly, with direful consternation, he beheld standing 
close to the cottage, and raising his right hand towards the thatch, the 
junction between which and the wall could be very well reached, the 
figure of a stout, broadset man. If Joey Pike was confounded and 
alarmed, the stranger was ten times more so. 

What he came there for matters not at present, but having heard of 
the death of the widow's son, the only conclusion he could come to, on 
seeing a naked figure with a scanty shirt issue silently, and even noise- 
lessly, forth from the cottage, was, that he beheld William Bain's ghost. 
I say naturally, because, had we time and space to discuss the question, 
I would undertake to prove to the very most ghost-learned of all my 
readers that a scanty shirt, such as Joey Pike had on at that moment, 
is much more appropriate, and to be expected in a ghost, than the long 
white garments with which we generally invest them; ay, and the 
scantier the better. There's both religion and philosophy in it, sir; 
for while philosophy asks why the deuce a ghost should wrap itself up 
in a winding-sheet, religion says, that as we brought nothing into the 
world with us, so shall we take nothing out with us — no, not even so 
much as a silk pocket handkerchief; and therefore, as I have said^. 



the less clothes a ghost has on the better. The gentleman whom 
Joey encountered, however, stopped neither to inquire nor to argue, 
but took to his heels at once, and ran as if all the bulls in the parish 
were after him. Joey, for his part, stood quite still in bewildered 
uncertainty : at first proposing to retreat into the cottage ; but the 
next moment, like a great general as he was, taking advantage of the 
miexpected panic of his adversary, he advanced, and pushing on, 
gained Mr. Longshank's house, carefully sliut the door, felt his way 
up stairs, and entered the garret which had been assigned him as a 
place of repose. There he crept under tlie bed-clothes, and being, 
as the reader knows, a philosopher, he set at work at once to do what 
every man should do, and inquire into the secret ckuses of his own 
proceedings. A certain weiglit upon his chest taught him at once to 
unravel the heart of the mystery, and laying his hand upon his stomach, 
he sighed forth " Quel porco /" 





The portmanteau of the chevalier arrived at the house of Mr. Long 
shanks towards the hour of eight in the morning, and although Mr. 
de Lunatico was far more thoroughly convinced of its lire-resisting 
properties than any of tlie innumerable patentees of tliose fire-proof 
safes and boxes in which valuable title-deeds and other papers are 
annually burnt to very excellent tinder, it was a very great relief to his 
mind to see it in such a high stale of preservation. On cross questioning 
the bulky peasant who carried it up to his room, lie found that labourers 
had been engaged during the whole morning, from the first dawn of 
light, in digging amongst the ruins " for the bodies." 

" For the bodies !" exclaimed the chevalier ; " I thought there was 
but one who had perished. On my word," he continued, muttering to 
himself, " I think I shall summons the whole nation for building them- 
selves houses of all the most inflammable substances they can find, 
when they have plenty of stone and plenty of iron, if they choose to 
make use of it. Pray, my good friend, with all their digging, what 
have they found besides my portmanteau ?" 

" Lawk-a-daisy, sir !" replied the man ; *' find ? Why they've found 
a couple of dead cats, and lots of roasted rats, and the skin of a long 


beast that tliey call an alligation, and pots enough to set up a china- 
shop, and " 

" Why I should have thought all such things must be destroyed," 
cried the chevalier, " in such a fire as that." 

" Ay, and so they would too, sir," replied the man ; " but you see, 
when the west wall fell out, the roof tumbled in ; that is to say, it 
didn't exactly tumble, but it slipped down whole enough, one side 
coming down with a rattle, but the other hitching upon the beams of 
one of the bed-rooms so as to lie slanting, like — for all the world like 
the penthouse of a cobbler's shop, and underneath that there was a lot 
of all kinds of rubbish, and this here portmanteau amongst the rest." 

" Rubbish !" said the chevalier, thinking of his invaluable stock — his 
credentials and all the rest. " But, tell me^ have, they found the body 
of the young lady — poor thing ?" and his voice shook a little as he 
spoke, perhaps from a slight cold which he had caught in all his pere- 
grinations of the preceding day. 

" No," replied the peasant ; " not a body did they find, for every 
thing that wasn't under that part of the roof was burnt to a cinder." 

Mr. de Lunatico questioned his companion no farther, but gave him 
a piece of silver for his pains, and being, as we have shown upon more 
than one occasion, of a tender and compassionate disposition, he deter- 
mined forthwith to visit Mr. Longmore, and endeavour to console him 
for the terrible loss he had sustained. On seeking for Worrel, in order 
to inquire after his health, he found that his young friend was already up 
and out, and after having breakfasted with Mr. Longshanks with whom 
he held a short but very interesting conversation, which I cannot pause 
to repeat, he issued forth on foot with Joey Pike as his guide. The 
latter indeed went with fear and trembling, but having explained to 
his indulgent lord what he termed his spavento, with the deprecatory 
declaration that, if it was his will, he would go with him to death, the 
chevalier reassured him by saying that he would only take him to the 
top of the hill over which he had enjoyed such a pleasant walk with 
Worrel and poor Laura Longmore. 

As soon as the chevalier saw his way clear before him he dismissed 
his conductor, and after various inquiries in regard to Mr. Longmore' s 
present place of sojourn, he was in the space of about a quarter of an 
hour seated comfortably in an arm-chair in the King's Head inn, to 
which the old philosopher had betaken himself. Poor Mr. Longmore 
was a very changed and chapfallen man since the period when the 
chevalier had first beheld him in the pride of health, prosperity, and 
astronomical instruments. He was now left alone, not " with his glory" 
but with a pair of black silk breeches, and instead of having his " martial 
cloak around him" he had nothing to wrap himself in but a sha^d 
dressing-gown. His hair was unpowdered, his pigtail was crooked 
and partly singed, and his bald crown had lost the lustre with which it 
used to shine and looked dull and depressed. Well pleased was he, 
however, to see the chevalier, and pressed his hand tenderly with tears 
in his eyes. 
• « Ah, my dear friend !" he said, " ah, my dear friend, this is a ter- 


rible affair, and it will shorten my life by at least fifty years. It is 
such things as theae that bring mortality into the world : otherwise 
there is no reason why man with proper precaution might not live for 
^ver. My beautiful instruments are all gone, and my daughter, my 
dear child, the light and solace of my life, she is lost also !" 

" There is matter of comfort in all things, my good sir,'* said the 
chevalier ; " and although it may be a painful consolation, yet you 
should remember all the pains and inconveniences which might have 
occurred to you had your daughter lived. It was quite evident to me 
that she had made up her mind to marry her cousin Worrel, and -" 

" She might have married any one that she liked," cried the old 
gentleman impatiently. " What a straw in the balance ! to talk of her 
marrying this man or that, when she is dead — burnt to death — lost to 
me for ever !" 

" Why," exclaimed the chevalier in considerable astonishment, " I 
have heard you declare that you would rather see her dead a thousand 
times than marry any one else but Henry Frederick Augustus 
Fitzurse !" 

" Nonsense, nonsense !" cried Mr. Longmore ; " every body talks in 
that way, but it means nothing. No man in this world ever says what 
he means, my good chevalier, especially to a daughter about her mar- 
riage. We of course try to drive her into the arms of the man we 
like best ; but if she flies into the arms of him she likes best herself, 
why we can't help it you know. Fathers' curses, and all that, unless 
with great fools or great blackguards, do not hold out very long 
against entreaties and repentance." 

" Or is it," said the chevalier, in a peculiarly solemn manner, " that 
we ill-treat the living and then regret the dead; that we fancy we 
should have relented when the time for gentleness is past, but that we 
should in reality have been as harsh as ever if the opportunity had been 
afforded us? God, very often, Mr. Longmore, interposes between 
ourselves and our rash purposes, and we believe we should not 
have executed them only when he has taken from us the power of 
doing so." 

" I declare, so help me heaven," cried Mr. Longmore with the tears 
in his eyes, " that if my poor daughter were in life she should marry 
whomsoever she pleased, were it a chimney-sweep out of the street ! 
I should not have been so hard as you think, my friend, I should not 

" Well," said the chevalier, " I must not press a suffering man, Mr. 
Longmore, but pray recollect for the future not to make rash denun- 
ciations lest heaven take you at your word. But now to other matters, 
it is my intention to go to the capital of this great country, and I think 
that it might do you good too, Mr. Longmore, if you could accompany 
me. New objects and new pursuits are like a group of children that I 
saw just now tugging an old man from his seat. They withdraw the 
mind kindly but forcibly, from the things it rests on." 

" No, my dear sir, no !" said Mr. Longmore, " I can't go to London 
just at present. It's a filthy hole, sir, London : a place where one 

90 The coMMtssio:S'EE ; on, 

rogue has set down his house next to another, for the better opportu- 
nity of cheating him ; a wilderness of brick and mortar as some one 
has called it ; a solitude of human beings ; a hive of wasps not bees, 
wliere every one has a sting and no honey. It is a foul place, sir, df 
foul place, witli such a stench and steam of human vice rising up from 
it incessantly day and night that they could not find a spot in the 
whole place to plant an observatory in, and so they were obliged to 
fix it at Greenwich. However, my dear friend, I know a number of 
people there, and as you wish to see all classes of the community, I 
will take care that you have the opportunity. In the course of the 
afternoon I shall write you letters to a number of different people in 
the capital. You shall have them to physicians, surgeons, apothe- 
caries, attorneys, barristers, judges, tradesmen, merchants, aldermen 
candidates, members of parliament, statesmen, clerks, councillors, 
ministers : you shall have a letter to the Lord Mayor of London and 
the first Lord of the Treasury, and I will write in such terms to all 
that they shall give you as much information as possible." 

" I will take care of that," said the chevalier, in a manner which Mr. 
Longmore thought somewhat conceited, though, as the reader well 
knows, the foundation of his self-sufficiency lay in his portmanteau ; 
and after having repeated his thanks to Mr. Longmore, and suggested a 
few little topics of consolation in his own peculiar manner, the chevalier 
made his bow and retired, still unable to make up his mind as to 
whether the first friend he had made on earth was really qualified for a 
billet to the moon or not. 

Taking his way back towards the house of Mr. Longshanks, our 
worthy friend was led by curiosity to pass by the ruins of Ivy Hall. A 
fine dry gravelly road led up from the little town to the ci-devant dwelling 
of the old philosopher, and the chevalier for the first time enjoyed the 
spectacle of a really English promenade; for, as may be well supposed 
by any one who knows the true character of the people, the news of 
the burning of Mr. Longmore's house, enhanced as it was by the report 
of his daughter having perished in the flames, spread universal hilarity 
and satisfaction amongst the inhabitants of the little town. There had 
not been such a thing as a fire in the neighbourhood for half a century, 
and, with the exception of a murder or two, a few cases of burglary, a 
brewer being boiled in one of the coppers, a Swiss giantess. Womb- 
well's menagerie, and a troop of equestrians, the good towns-people had 
not had any thing to amuse themselves with, and to wonder at, for many 
a long year. All the ladies in the town felt actually obliged to Mr. 
Longmore for setting his house on fire ; and there they went along the 
road, in groups of twos, threes, and fours, dressed in all the finery they 
could get up for the occasion, and either laughing, talking, or looking 
solemn, according to the peculiar sort of affectation of each. Some of 
the light-hearted were joking with each other gaily, finding nothing in 
the whole business but an excuse for a holiday ; others were conversing 
gravely over the events of the fire, and with all the uncharitableness of 
self importance were expressing serious doubts as to whether it would 
liot prove a case of arson. One man said that he knew the house and 


all that it contained to be insured to at least double its value (it was 
not insured at all) ; another rejoined that old Longmore was said to be 
rich, but he always entertained many doubts of the fact. He had heard 
it whispered, too, that his property was as deeply mortgaged as it coukl 
bear. Another said it was no wonder, when one considered the mint of 
money that he had spent upon fooleries of all kinds — observatories, and 
telescopes, and granite colunms, and transit instruments, and the Lord 
knows what besides. But just at that moment a fourth stepped up to 
the party who had been enjoying this pleasant discussion, and informed 
them in a low tone that he had just heard that a commission was about 
to be issued, to inquire into the sanity of Mr. Longmore. He had no 
doubt, he added, that a statute of lunacy would be the result. 

" Ho, ho !'' said the chevalier, who happened to be near ; " this is 
something in my way ;" and approaching with his usual easy and un- 
constrained air, he joined the party, and made one in the conversation, 
without exciting the slightest wonder at his addressing them, although 
a stranger. 

" Pray, sir," he said, addressing the first, " may I ask what makes you 
think that Mr. Longmore' s house and its contents were insiu*ed for 
more than the value?" 

The other laughed, and under the influence of the chevalier's peculiar 
powers, drew him aside, saying, " I don't really know any thing about 
the matter,[^but I take it for granted the house is insured ; and, in that 
case, old Longmore's too sharp a fellow not to put the insurance at the 
highest sum he can get." 

The chevalier then turned to another, who had hinted at Longmore's 
poverty, and had insinuated a mortgage — " Pray, sir, may I ask," he 
said, " what it is that makes you doubt Mr. Longmore's wealth?" 

" Why," cried the gentleman, likewise drawing him aside that the 
rest might not hear, " the truth is, he lent me fifty pounds three or four 
months ago, and did not take an acknowledgment. Now, you know a 
man of that kind can't be rich long." 

The chevalier discovered in the same manner that the personage who 
did not wonder that Mr. Longmore was reported to be impoverished, on 
account of the foolish way in which he spent his money, was a lawyer 
in a tolerable way of business, who, having a wife and family, kept a 
faithless little strumpet in a back street of the town, played whist at 
guinea points, and had two or three natural children besides. The gentle- 
man who was so bent upon a commission of lunacy had a hereditary taint 
of insanity in his family, and every two or three years established his legi- 
timate descent from mad ancestors in the most unequivocal manner. A 
very short conversation with him justified Mr. de Lunatico in presenting 
him with a billet for the moon; and then turning to the others, he 
said, " I believe in common fairness, gentlemen, I ought to give you the 
same invitation ; for I think that you all admit that whatever may be 
his eccentricities, Mr. Longmore is an excellent and amiable man, 
whose whole conduct towards his neighbours ought to conciliate the 
regard and affection of all rational men, and yet you evidently show 
that you entertain towards him feelings exactly the reverse of those. 

92 THE commissioner; 01?, 

which his conduct ought to inspire in reasonable beings, which can 
hardly proceed from any thing but a lunatic tendency in your minds. 
I have therefore many doubts whether I ought not to consider you as 
subjects of the moon, and summons you accordingly." 

"If you do that," replied one, " you may summon the whole world ; for 
a great philosopher has said that we always find some cause for satisfac- 
tion in the misfortunes of our best friends, a maxim you may see 
exemplified every day." 

" The gentleman you speak of," said the chevalier, " has been up in 
our sphere a long time. He was considered as a wit, I find, down here ; 
but we have put him into the incurable ward of the hospitals for soi- 
disant philosophers — a term used amongst us to signify a particular 
species of troublesome idiot. I do not know what you call them down 
here below." 

" The same, the same," said the last speaker. " The two languages 
seem to be very much alike." 

The chevalier then turned to a group of ladies who, with green and 
lilac ribands, a great deal of lace and other finery, were wending their 
way up towards the scene of the fire, enjoying to their hearts' content 
the malice of pity. Poor little Laura Longmore was the great object 
of their attack. One declared that she could cry to think of the poor 
girl being cut off in the midst of her vanity and folly. Another said 
that perhaps, after all, it was as well for her ; for there was no doubt 
she was going to marry Mr. Fitzurse, while she was in love with 
Mr. Worrel, and all the world knew what would come of that. 
Another cried, " marry Mr. Fitzurse, indeed ! No chance of that : 
Mr. Fitzurse was not a marrying man. All that he wanted was, 
to play the fool with the girl. If he liad married, he would have 
married somebody in a better station of life, not such an upstart chit 
as that. What she wondered at was that Mr. Longmore could be such 
an ass as to suffer it. She was very sorry for her, indeed, poor thing; 
and considered it a horrible death to be burnt alive ; but after all, if 
Laura had lived, nothing could have come of it but an action for breach 
of promise of marriage — and perhaps a baby." It was a young un- 
married lady of forty-three, and rather thin, who spoke. 

I have said that the chevalier was approaching this party, but he 
never executed his intention of taking part in their conversation. The 
chevalier needs no defence; for every man has a right to change his mind 
each five minutes ; indeed, he has seldom any right to keep it. Although 
resolution is a good thing in its way, yet any one who sees 

**How chances mock, 
And changes fill the cup of alteration 
With divers liquors," 

must be convinced that a man's purposes, even if they are formed 
upon good motives at first, which is very seldom the case, must change 
with changing circumstances. The cause of the chevalier's abandoning 
his intention was twofold. First, a stage coach was coming up pulled 

I>E LUNATICO inquirendo. 93 

along by four bright thoroughbred, cat-like bays, which whirled it for- 
ward as if it had been drawn by a string of tigers, and most assuredly 
it would have knocked our respectable friend down, and ran over him, 
if he had attempted to take the direction which he had at first proposed. 
In the second place, there was a sudden hubbub amongst the string of 
people going up to see the ruins of Mr. Longmore's house which at- 
tracted Mr. de Lunatico's attention, and in which he soon found him- 
self concerned. The first thing he saw was a great movement 
amongst the people at the top of the hill ; and the next moment, he 
beheld Joey Pike with the agility of a deer threading the mazes of the 
people on his bounding tiptoes, and approaching with a rapidity which 
could proceed from nothing but fear. Even when hurled along, 
however, like an arrow from a bow, Joey's distinctive grace and polite- 
ness did not abandon him. He twisted round each fat dowager ; he 
darted about to avoid running against each pretty lady ; if he touched a 
furbelow or discomposed a sleeve, he exclaimed in the sweetest tone 
possible, ^'' Scuzy-y^ and if he trod upon a toe, he laid his hand upon 
his heart and sighed forth, " PardongT 

In the meanwile, distanced by about fifty yards, came rolling down 
a fat heavy -looking man, with a face like one of the large masks at the 
door of a masquerade warehouse, with a low-crowned, flat-brimmed hat, 
and with a yellow waistcoat bisected by an immense row of brass buttons, 
covering the fair rotundity of his justice-like stomach. Panting, 
pufl^ing, blowing, "larding the lean earth as he went along," he gave chase 
to Joey Pike, running against every body, begging pardon of nobody, 
and endeavouring to shout forth "stop him, stop him," but frustrated in 
his efforts so to do, by a certain inopportune hoarseness, which rendered 
the sound produced as inarticulate as the whistling of the wind through 
a keyhole. 

For once, grace and politeness met their due"reward — every one made 
way for Joey, nobody budged a step for his pursuer ; and indeed, fierce 
and angry were the glances shot at him as he jostled the world while 

he passed along. One gentleman d d him, another cursed him, 

and another raised his stick to knock him down, while a little boy, 
whom he thrust forcibly out of his way, applied in the most classical 
manner possible, as is proved by Pompeii, the tip of the thumb on his 
left hand to the apex of his nose, and, extending the fourth finger, con- 
nected the point thereof with the thumb of the right, whereat the fat 
man was wroth, and shook his fist. 

As soon as Joey saw the chevalier he dropped on one knee before 
him, threw back his graceful head and extended his right hand, evi- 
dently with the view of addressing to him some supplication ; but just 
at that instant, his eyes lighted on the stage coach, and he saw an old 
friend from the village of Outrun on the box, in the person of the 
coachman. That gentleman also saw him and his distress ; he gathered 
up his tits in a moment, bringing by a magical process, their heads in 
and their haunches out, and with a sudden jerk of his thumb over his 
left shoulder, he indicated to the fugitive the proceeding he was to 
adopt. In an instant, Joey was on his feet again, and in another 


instant, on the top of the coach. Crack went the whip, out went the 
sixteen legs of the horses, like those of a great spider darting at a fly, 
round went the wheels, and on went the coach. The fat man shook 
both his fists, flashed fire from both his eyes, and whistled out, " stop, 
stop," adding, when he found himself not attended to, some impreca- 
tions of a character not very chaste nor very reverent. The coachman 
whirled his whip gracefully round his head, and suddenly the lash found 
its way round to the posteriors of his interpellator, while at the same 
time, the Jehu screwing up his eye into the smallest possible space 
demanded in a sweet tone, " who are you ;" and also inquired of the 
gentleman whether his mother knew he was out, but without waiting 
for a reply to either questionsj^and galloping his horses up the hill as 
fast as they could go. 




*' The shadows dance upon the wall 

By the still dancing fire-flame made ; 
And now they slmnber, moveless all ! 
And now they melt to one deep shade !" 

The poet's description was very applicable to a certain room in Outrun 
Castle on the morning which witnessed the duel between Harry Worrel 
and the Honourable Frederick Augustus Fitzurse. The latter-named 
gentleman having been got out of his bed with considerable difficulty 
about half-past three in the morning, had been dressed by candle light, 
and by candle light had been primed with the liquors judged necessary 
to carry him through the business of the day. His room had remained 
with the windows closed as if he were sleeping on to his usual hour, 
and the housemaid, who had been properly kept in the dark with re- 
gard to the proceedings about to take place, had not, of course, ven- 
tured to disturb the sanctity of his repose. Thus the only living things 
in the room during his absence were a few coals which had been 
thrown upon the fire by Tom Hamilton to keep him warm while 
dressing, which flickered and flared, casting fitful and tremulous gleams 
upon the tumbled bed, and the slippers and dressing gown cast down, 
and the table with its array of silver-covered bottles and pots, razors, 
brushes, combs, and boxes of pills. Thus the matter continued for the 


space of an hour or somewhat more ; then came a terrible ringing at the 
great bell of the house, and then an immense deal of bustle and confu- 
sion in the hall below and upon the staircase. It was the bustle of feet 
and not of tongues — for very few words were spoken and those in a low 
tone — and at length the door of the room opened, and four or live men 
made their way slowly in, carrying upon a cottage door the form of the 
heir of Outrun Castle. Slowly approaching the bed they laid him 
down upon it, and slipped the machine on which they bore him from 
underneath him — with no great ceremony, indeed, but not without that 
sort of solemn silence which the presence of death generally produces. 

The old viscount himself, with his red nightcap and his redder face, 
followed the bearers of his son and took a look at him as he lay, while 
Tom Hamilton gazed over the peer's shoulder with feelings much less 
pleasant than he liked to express. The peer was rapid in making up 
his mind to most things : he was a man of action rather than words, 
and his oration over his son's body was not a long one. 

" D n me, he's done for him," said the viscount, after staring in at 

the foot curtains of the bed for about thirty seconds. " What devilish 
good shots all those Worrels are. Well, Freddy my boy, I'll give 
them a touch of limbo for your sake, even if we can't get them hanged. — 
I say, Tom, they ought to hang Worrel ; ought they not ? — Curse him 
he shot the boy when he was drunk !" 

" But, my dear lord," said Tom Hamilton, " you know you 
would " 

" Curse it hold your tongue," cried the viscount ; " never mind what 
I would ! At all events we'll send after them and have them into jail. 
Come away, Tom, come away, and let us put the dogs upon the scent ; 
then we'll have a cutlet and a pint of Madeira by way of consolation." 

Thus saying he quitted the room, and one by one the men who had 
carried the body in followed the noble lord out — doubtless, with the 
purpose of consoling themselves after his fashion. The door was 
closed by the last of them, and the fire went on flickering round the 
room as if nothing had been the matter. Who is it that loves or 
mourns for the wicked ? 

The room had been closed for about a quarter of an hour ; the news 
of what had occurred had run through the household ; the servants' hall 
was flowing with ale, and the peer's breakfast-room with Madeira, when 
the handle of the lock in the chamber of death turned, the door gently 
opened, and a young girl, in the dress of a housemaid entered with a noise- 
less step, and, slow and trembling, approached the side of the bed. She 
came evidently to take a last look of the dead body of her young master. 
What had been the connexion between them matters not. He was de- 
bauched, licentious, unfaithful, coarse ; it was impossible that he could 
treat any woman well — it was scarcely possible that he could do aught 
but injure, betray, insult, and tyrannise over any one who was in his 
power ; but yet it was clear that there was one heart at least that loved 
him. The poor girl was a pretty creature enough, with a countenance 
of no great sense and much timidity, and her whole frame was agi- 
tated, although, as yet, her eyes were tearless. When she had come 

96 THE commissioner;' OH, 

close to the bed, however, and saw the pale face and the blood that 
dabbled it, the tears welled over from her eyes and rolled silently down 
her cheeks. Then kneeling down by the side of the bed, she murmured, 
" God forgive you and me !" and stretching out her arm, she took the 
hand that was next to her and pressed her lips upon it. 

The moment that she had done so she started up, saying to herself 
in a low voice and with a look of utter astonishment, " I never knew 
that a dead man's hand was warm I" 

After thus speaking, she stood and gazed for an instant or two with 
a troubled and doubtful look, and then thrust her hand under her young 
master's waistcoat. The agitation of her countenance became extreme, 
but a gleam of joy mingled with the troubled emotions tliat crossed it, 
like the rays of sunshine struggling with the clouds of a stormy sky. 
She then drew her hand suddenly back and gazed again, and then bent 
down her head till the curls of her hair fell upon his forehead, and her 
cheek almost touched his lips, while her eye fixed vacantly upon the 
other side of the room, gazing with eager intensity at nothing. The 
next instant she cried, " It is his breath I" and then giving a loud and 
piercing cry, she rushed to the door and thence to the top of the stairs, 
where she uttered shriek after shriek, till the whole household came 
running to know what was the matter. It seemed as if the poor girl 
had lost all power to do any thing but scream, for to the first questions 
addressed to her such Was her only reply ; but, as they demanded 
angrily and eagerly, " What ails you, Jane? what ails you?" she stamped 
her foot impatiently, exclaiming, " He is not dead! he breathes!" and 
down she fell herself as pale, or paler, than him whom she had just 







Several minutes elapsed before tlie various personages who had been 
collected together by the violent screaming of poor Jane, which we 
have described in the last chapter, seemed to comprehend the cause of 

her agitation or the meaning of her words. The peer d d her 

twice, and vowed the girl was mad Tom Hamilton looked on her 
with real compassion, springing from a variety of causes ; Jerry Tripe 
pulled out of his pocket one of the undischarged brandy bottles, and 
one of the maids took out a pair of scissors to cut her stay lace. 

But Jane, with a last faint effort, cried, " Let me alone ! There ! 
there ! he is not dead I tell you !" and she pointed with her hand in 
the direction of Mr. Fitzurse's room. 

What was the poor girl's meaning, now seemed to strike every one 
in a moment ; and the opening of their understandings made them, as 
usual, open their eyes and mouths also. 

There were at this time five persons round her — the 'peer, Tom 
Hamilton, a maid, Jerry Tripe, and a footman ; but aU left poor Jane 
where she was, and rushed into Mr. Fitzurse's room. The peer caught 
hold of his son's hand — though the fingers were cold, the palm was 
warm. Tom Hamilton felt his heart: it beat, though but faintly. 
That was enough for the viscount, however, who seized a ewer of water 
and dashed it at once over his son's face. The effect was instantaneous : 
he gave a great gasp and raised liimself upon his two elbows, while the 
old man, taking off" his red velvet nightcap, waved it round and round 
in the air, exclaiming, " Hurrah! hurrah ! hurrah !'* 

But Mr. Fitzm-se sank back again, and though he opened his eyes, 
seemed bewildered, and scarce hsdf alive. 

" What is the matter ?" said he in a faint voice. " What brings you 
all here ? I've got a devil of a headache. It's all that cursed spinach 
that I ate last night. Hang me, if ever I eat any vegetables again ; 
they always make my head ache." 

" Send for a surgeon," cried the peer. " See what it is to have a 
hard head ! though, by jingo, I did not know that the fellow had got a 
skull that would turn a pistol-ball. Send for a surgeon, I say I" 

" Stay, stay, my lord," said Tom Hamilton ; " we may all look 
foolish, if we don't mind. I've a notion that he cut his forehead on a 
stone as he fell. It seemed to me, at the time, that Worrell's pistol 
was not aimed at him. Let's see how deep the wound is before we bring, 
a surgeon to laugh at us." 

C. — ^NO. IV. U 

98 THE commissioner; or, 

« Hold," cried tlie peer ; *' every one of you stay here. I won't 
have a word of this mentioned. I have a plan in my head. If any one 
of you mention that he's come to life again, I'll discharge him without 
warning. Here, Nelly Thomson, get me a bodkin. Tom Hamilton, 
there's a good fellow, wipe his face with that towel." 

" Why, what a slop you have made," said Mr. Fitzurse, beginning 
to feel cold and imcomfortable. " I wonder what the deuce you are 
all about." 

Nobody took any pains to explain the circumstances ; but Mr. Fitz- 
Tirse's face was wiped, the woimd in his forehead was probed with a 
bodkin, and found to be a little triangular hole of no depth, evidently 
cut by his fall upon a stone. Gradually, however, the recollection 
of having been a principal in a duel, of being fired at and suddenly 
losing all consciousness, retiu'ned, though faint and indistinctly ; 
and the first effect upon the frame of Mr. Fitzurse was a violent fit of 
trembling, as if the whole matter were to be done over again. Very 
soon happier thoughts arose : it was something to have fought a duel, 
and to have his name put in the newspapers, with " Affair of Honour" 
before it. It would establish for him the character of a man of courage 
for the rest of his life ; and he was beginning to grin with satisfaction 
at the thought, when his father held up his finger solemnly, as a signal 
that he was going to be oracular. 

" Hush, hush, every one of you !" he cried. " I have a plan in my 
head for punishing all those fellows, and getting all that we want. 
First of all, Freddy, you are to be dead. Do you hear, all of you ? 
He is to be dead; and if any one says a word about his being living, 
I'll horsewhip him first, and discharge him afterwards. Mind that : 
I'm a man of my word, you know. Where's the girl Jane ? she can't 
be fainting at the top of the stairs all this time." 

" No, my lord, I'm here," cried the timid voice of the poor house- 
maid, through a chink of the door. ' 

" Jane," cried the peer, " come in. You are not to say a word about 
his being living, do you hear. How the devil you chanced to find it 
out I don't know ; but, however, he must confine himself strictly to his 
own room, and you shall have the pleasure of bringing him up his food, 
Jane, on account of the good news you gave us." 

Poor Jane looked as if it would be a pleasure indeed, but she said 
not a word ; for, to tell the truth, the tears were very near her eyes, 
and she was afraid of stirring the water for fear of its running over. 
All the other servants swore in the most solemn manner to keep the 
secret, and what is still better, they really intended to do so ; for they 
knew that their good lord, who was somewhat choleric withal, was a 
very likely man indeed to execute his threat, or even worse. All this 
being settled, the peer took Jerry Tripe on one side, and entered with 
him into secret conclave. They had a long and eager discussion, and 
sundry of the servants and dependants were sent for from time to time, 
questions were put to them, persons were despatched hither and thither 
through the country, and several hours wers occupied in various evolu- 
tions difficult to account for. At length, however, towards evening, 


two constables arrived, five stout men-servants, all covered with smock 
frocks, were marshalled in the hall, and, under the leading and guidance 
of Mr. Jeremy Tripe, they set out across the country towards nightfall. 
For a couple of hours after their departure the peer seemed easy and 
cheerful : he went up to his son's room, had a small turbot and lobster 
sauce a broiled fowl with mushrooms a sweetbread done brown and a 
leg of lamb carried up by the hands of Jane, while he himself, with a 
decanter in each hand and a bottle of champagne under his arm, pro- 
vided the liquid which was to moisten the solid mass prepared for his con- 
sumption. There he and the corpse ate and drank, and were merry ; for 
the good strong wine speedily cleared away the headache imder which 
the worthy Mr. Fitzurse had been labouring during the whole day. But 
tow ards nine or ten o'clock the peer became fidgetty again, looked at 
his watch every five minutes, and all the servants who did not know 
the resuscitation of the admirable Mr. Henry Frederick Augustus, set 
their lord down for insane when they found him eating and drinking 
in his dead son's room, and shouting inquiries from the top of the stairs 
to the bottom as to whether Jerry Tripe had yet returned. Suddenly, 
however, his lordship seemed to recollect something, and calling for 
maids and housekeepers, made them prepare the best visitor's room, 
which was an old-fashioned state apartment of the reign of Charles II. 
The furniture was dusted, mattrasses, sheets and blankets, were put 
upon the bed, an immense fire of wood was piled up in the capacious 
hearth, and a pair of wax lights set down upon the toilet table. 

" Run you, Jane and Nelly Thomson," cried the peer, " run to my 
sister's room — what is called the young lady's room I mean — and bring 
out the middle one of the three trunks that you will find in the latge 
cupboard. We shall get night dresses enough in that I dare say." 

The two girls immediately fulfilled his command, and from a room 
which had been five-and-twenty years imtenanted, they brought forth 
a large dusty trunk, with two straps attached to either handle, giving 
reason to suppose that it had not been unpacked since it had been used 
by some person in travelling. The key, however, had yet to be found, 
and the search for it occupied nearly half an hour. When it was dis- 
covered at length, the rusty lock required several minutes more ere it 
would yield ; but when all this w^as accomplished, and the trunk opened, 
a quantity of clean linen was discovered neatly packed, from which, 
without much search, a lady's night dress and nightcap, richly laced, 
but yellow with age, were draw n forth and hung up at the fire to air. 
It was now the turn of the two maids to think their lord as mad as a 
March hare, for by the common process of reasoning which maid ser- 
vants usually employ on such occasions, that is to say, taking up the two 
first facts that come to hand, and clapping them together, these two 
young ladies concluded that the noble viscount was going to dress him- 
self in the night-clothes of his sister, who had been dead for a quarter 
of a century, and go to bed in the state sleeping-room. They were 
more confirmed in this opinion than ever when the peer concluded his 
proceedings by saying, " There> that will all do very well ! Now you may 
leave me> and when Jerry Tripe arrives, send him up here directly." 



The maids accordingly retired with due decorum, and betook them- 
selves to the servants' hall. Scarcely had they been gone five minutes, 
however, when the bell of the state-room rang and produced some 
difficulty in the lower regions, for but one footman had been left in the 
house, and he had gone out to the back door of the castle to speak a 
few sweet words to the laundry maid who had come up to the back 
door to speak a few sweet words to him. There being no help for it, 
Nelly Thomson went to see what her lord wanted, and Jane went also 
up the stairs for company, taking a peep into Mr. Fitzurse's room as 
she passed, but not going in, though he beckoned to her to do so. 

" Go down into the dining-room, Nelly," said the peer to the house- 
maid, "open the liqueur case that you will find by the ice pail, and bring 
me out the bottle that is marked, Cura9oa. Bring me a glass also ; 
there's a good girl. I don't know how it is, I can't help thinking of 
my sister in this room.'' 

Nelly Thomson disappeared, and was longer absent- than the earl 
thought proper, but when she returned she had an immense quantity 
of wonder in her face, with some horror, and some fear. 

" Lord, my lord," she cried, " such a thing has happened !" 

" What the devil is it ?" demanded the peer. " Don't stand staring 
with your mouth open like a stuck pig, but give me a glass of Cura^oa, 
and tell me whatjt's all about." 

" About, my lord," cried the girl gingling the bottle and glass together, 
as her hand shook while she poured out the liquor, " it's about poor old 
Scapulary, the clerk and sexton, who has been murdered in his bed at 
six o'clock this morning, by Joey Pike, the waiter at the Half Moon." 

" Murdered !" exclaimed the peer. 

" Ay, my lord," replied the girl, " he was quite dead when they fomid 

"A devilish good thing too!" cried the peer; "the old vagabond 
must hold his tongue now. Well done, Joey Pike. 'Pon my soul I'll 
give him half-a-crown if he can prove that he did it." 

" Oh, my lord, there's no doubt that he did it," cried the girl again ; 
"for Mrs. Scapulary had just stepped out, they say, to get a penn'orth 
of milk, and was not gone more than five minutes, and in the mean- 
while, Tims, the market gardener, saw Joey come out of the cottage 
in a great fluster and scud away as hard as he could go." 

" It's all a lie," said the peer, after reflecting a moment, and recol- 
lecting that .he had seen Joey Pike, whose face he knew well, with 
Worrel in the morning. " It's all a lie, girl." 

" Well, my lord," said Nelly bridling, " all I know is that old 
Scapulary is as dead as a door nail." 

" That's good luck at all events," said the peer, whoever did it. 
"Hark, there's twelve o'clock, isn't it? Ay, and there's a noise down 
stairs too. There they are, there they are, I'm sure ! Send them up, 
Nelly, send them up ! Quick, quick, send them all up here !'* 

Nelly flew to obey her lord's behest and to satisfy her own curiosity, 
and in about three minutes more four men mounted the great staircase, 
and entered the state bedchamber, carrying between them, in an arm- 


cKair, a young lady clothed in a light dressing-gown, which displayed 
from under the edge thereof two beautiful little white feet, one in a 
slipper lined with fur, and one without any covering whatsoever. She 
had a nightcap on her head, from which, however, escaped bright 
masses of glossy and curling hair ; and, while over her eyes was boimd 
one red silk handkerchief, over her mouth was tied another, so as to 
prevent any part of her face from being seen, except the delicate little 
nose, tant soit peu retrousse^ and a part of a fair cheek. By order 
of the peer, these bandages were immediately removed, and Laura 
Longmore, as pretty as ever, but looking ^vild, lightened, and fatigued 
was presented to the eyes of the spectators. 








"Illustrissimo Signore, — 

" It is impossible for you to conceive the shaggura with which I 
was driven to abandon you this morning, and — as my learned friend, 
Winkin de Worde, used to say — to go like Caesar, summa diligentia, 
on the top of the diligence to London. But, sir, these people accuse, 
me of having committed an affroose crime ; and although I am as in- 
nocent of it as an enfant, yet they would put me in prison, perhaps, 
for two or three months ; and, some beau matin, I might find myself 
suspendu before I knew any thing about it. The imprisonment I could 
not bear, piu-toasto morir ; and as for the potence with which I am 
threatened, nothing can deliver me from it but your temoignage. They 
accuse me, sir, of having assassinated poor old Toby Scapulary, the 
sexton, at the very time when I was having the felicitah of accom- 
panying yourself and Signor Worrel in your expedition against the 
forces from Outrun Castle. Now, though it be not impossible that 
this hand-and-arm quel bracheo e mano might slay two men at once, yet 
it is quite impossible that I, Guisseppe Pike, could accompany you to 
the slaughter of one, and kill another more than a mile off at the same 
moment. If, then, you will condescend to pardon my taking such an 
unceremonious conge, and will, together with my proudly-esteemed 

10^ THT5 COMMISSIONElt ; Oft, 

^K. • . -.-'- -v:.'::.i'; s.': 

young patron, Signor Worrel, testify to my innoclienzah, you will 

confer the greatest benefice upon 

" Your umilisstmo servo, 

"Joey Pike. 

"P.S. No. 1 I am to be found at the sign of the Chien Noir, or 

Black Dog, in what my French friends would call the JRtie de Manacles, 
but which we call Fetter-lane. 

"P.S. No. 2. — I scarcely dare entertain the speranza of ever being 
received into your service again, after the inconcevable escapade which 
Ihave been obliged to commit. But all that I can say is, that I am as 
pure of the crime as the holy virgin of Loretto, who, an Italian friend 
assured me upon his sacred honour, is a great deal purer than any other 
virgin in the world ; and that if you will overlook the inconvenience, I 
will ever serve you with devotion and reconnoissance. 

" P.S. No. 3 As I quitted the half-moon subitOy I had not time to 

settle with good Mrs. Muggins for the small salario which I was to 
receive ; and if you would condescend to beg her to send it to me, to- 
gether with my little trosseau, the benefit would be sensitively appre- 
ciated by your devoo-y. 

«J. P.'' 

Such was the epistle brought down by the coach, and which the 
Chevalier de Lunatico received at the breakfast table of Mr. Long- 
shanks, on the morning subsequent to that of our revered friend's visit to 
the bereaved Mr. Longmore. Nearly sit the same time, a large packet 
was put into his hands, containing the letters of introduction which 
his philosophical acquaintance had promised him for various individuals 
in London ; and the chevalier, with that beautiful promptitude which is 
peculiar to the personages of his planet, preventing them in general 
from looking before they leap, determined instantly to proceed to 
London at once, to discover the residence of his inestimable servant, 
Joey Pike, and to entertain himself in the capital till such time at 
least as all annoyance in regard to the affair of the duel was at an end ; 
for by this time he had, upon due consideration, made up his mind to 
the fact, that although a day or two's practical acquaintance with prison 
discipline might be very agreeable, as well as consistent with his views 
and purposes, a month or six weeks thereof would be neither necessary 
nor agreeable. He only paused, therefore, to consider one thing, which 
was, whether Worrel would accompany him or not ; for it must be re- 
membered that the chevalier had rather rashly swallowed some drops of 
that particular elixir, which instantly produced in his bosom a sympathy 
with those persons in whose company he drank it ; and he now found 
himself what he called, very foolishly unwilling to part from his young 
friend. During the whole of the preceding day, Worrel had either 
wandered through the scenes of former happiness, or shut himself up 
in the room which had been assigned to him at the good surgeon's, 
making himself as miserable as heart could desire. 


Now, the reader, who is behind the scenes, knows that all this grief 
was very unnecessary, having beheld the fair Laura safe and well at 
Outrun Castle — but we all make ourselves miserable unnecessarily as 
well as Harry Worrel ; and the same dear reader may rest perfectly 
satisfied, that the only eye which sees behind the scenes on all occa- 
sions, and knows the actual facts, and ultimate results of all that 
takes place throughout the universe, judges our sorrows and miseries 
as unnecessary as those of Harry Worrel seem to the reader, At least, 
such was the opinion delivered afterwards by our excellent friend 
Mr. Longshanks ; and where is the man who would question the dic- 
tum of so profound a moral philosopher? To Worrel then the 
chevalier instantly applied, and, to his great satisfaction found that 
he was quite as willing to visit the capital city of Great Britain as if 
he had been fresh from the moon. 

Harry Worrel, it must he said had, on the previous evening, stolen 
an interview with Mr. Longmore himself, and their mutual tears had 
brought the old man and the young one closer together than years of 
happy and contented intercourse haa done. And now the reader may, 
perhaps, accuse the writer of being an Irishman, to which he will 
neither plead guilty or not guilty, but to the covert and insidious 
part of the charge, that in his capacity of Irishman he has com- 
mitted a bull, by first saying, that Harry Worrel spent the whole of 
the preceding day in wandering round the scenes of former happiness, 
or in his own room ; and afterwards declaring he visited Mr. Long- 

But the reader must be now informed that the very room in the 
inn which Mr. Longmore tenanted, was one of those scenes of former 
happiness ; inasmuch as in that room he had spent two hours with 
Laura Longmore, while in the market-place below, her father, in a 
speech of vast length, proposed a remarkably stupid candidate as the 
legislative representative of the people of the town. 

Harry Worrel did then, most willingly undertake to accompany Mr. de 
Lmiatico in the stage coach to London ; and as the hour was approach- 
ing at which the aforesaid vehicle passed the end of the village, an 
instant bustle of preparation took place. Mr. Longshanks added some 
letters to those which had been furnished by Mr. Longmore. The 
servants were all actively in expectation of the departing half-crowns, 
and all was ready at the end of about half-an-hour. The gardener 
then carried down the goods and chattels of the parties, taking 
especial care of the chevalier's invaluable portmanteau, which from 
the glistening whitish green skin wherewith it was covered, unlike any 
earthly portmanteau he had ever seen, engaged the worthy horticul- 
turist's attention, and excited his respect and admiration. A short dis- 
cussion then took place as to whether it would be better to proceed on 
the outside or the inside of the coach ; both Worrel and the chevalier 
being anxious to enjoy the fresh air, if possible, and their friend, Mr. 
Longshanks, advising them strenuously on the contrary, to shut them- 
selves up in the inside of the vehicle, lest they should be seen in passing 
through the village of Outrun, and consigned to the inside of a prison. 


The question, however, was decided for them by the arrival of the 
coach. No outside place was to be obtained at all ; the inside was 
quite vacant ; and after shaking the hospitable host by the hand, they 
got in and were speedily rolling on their way to London. Harry 
Worrel bent down his head and said nothing ; and the chevalier, who 
perfectly understood what was to be done on such occasions, looked 
out of the window and said nothing either. Thus passed an hour, 
and then some little thing, it matters not what, caused one or the other 
of them to speak. Conversation began with two or three words,— ^left off 

began again — fell to the ground once more. It seemed as if each was 

reluctant to talk, and yet each helped the other on a little, till after a 
while it flowed on in a smooth and even strain, low and melancholy 
enough, but yet pleasing to both. Thus hour after hour slipped away ; 
thus change after change of horses took place, and every now and then 
the stream of conversation would be varied by the chevalier inquiring, 
and by Worrel explaining the meaning of the various things they saw. 

It was dark when they entered London, and the dearly beloved reader 
may perhaps suppose, that such was not the moment the chevalier should 
have chosen for taking his first view of the British capital ; but in this 
point the reader is mistaken ; for one of the most characteristic times of 
London, if I may make use of such an expression, is in the spring 
time, about an hour after dame night has let the train of her black 
petticoat fall down upon the floor of the earth. 

Oh, ye gods and goddesses ! that, high upon the top of Olympus, 
know nothing, or very little, of what is going on in great cities after 
nightfall, you cannot conceive what a scene the vast metropolis presents 
for an hour or two at the close of each successive day! 

All the varied objects of that scene rushed upon the keen eyes of the 
chevalier, one by one, as he looked out from the window of the vehicle 
in which he was whirled along. The multitude of gas lamps, the 
blazing shop windows, shawls, stockings, macintoshes, shoes, silver, 
gold, jewels, plate glass, books, newspapers, medicines, doctors* bottles, 
toys, prints, furniture, guns, pistols, swords, epaulets, breeches, stays, 
petticoats, bustles, bonnets, caps, handkerchiefs, gloves, vegetables, 
meat, fish, poultry, game, all came dashing upon his visual organs with 
a rapidity that might have blinded any other unaccustomed eyes but 
those of the Chevalier de Lunatico. It seemed as if he was being pelted 
with every thing eatable, drinkable, wearable, usable, readable, feelable, 
hearable, smellable, thinkable, that the world ever produced. But this 
was not one-half of the affair, for these were all objects fixed and im- 
movable : it was he that was whirled past them — they, in reality, did 
not make the assault upon him. But, in addition to this, there were all 
the moving sights of the place ; there were hackney coaches carrying 
ladies of one rank out to tea parties ; there were gentlemen's carriages 
carrying persons of another class out to dinner parties. There were 
cabriolets, and their harnessed lightning, whirling members of parlia- 
ment down to St. Stephen's with the view of governing or misgoverning 
the nation. There were police vans, like the carls of a vagabond mena- 
gerie, transporting their gaol birds (that were likely soon to be retrans^ 


ported) from the torture-house of the police office to the torture-house of 
the prison. There were wagons rolling the riches of the world in and 
out of London ; there were carts carrying the goods and chattels of the 
citizens from one part of the city to the other ; there were coster- 
mongers, dwindling down from the pony, through the ass, to the dog, 
whirling about their lesser vehicles, and their retail wares. There was 
the omnibus, the voracious omnibus, the Leviathan of the great city, with 
a dozen Jonahs in its belly, and likewise the locomotive solitude of 
the hack cab with the driver perched upon his wandering observatory 
behind, and then there were all the thousands of asses, and horses, and 
dogs, drawing their vehicles upon their destined course. But, besides 
all these, there were the two-legged things that kept the pavement, 
merchants, tradesmen, shopmen, mechanics, labourers, swindlers, 
pickpockets, thieves, gentlemen and blackguards with cigars in their 
mouths. Then there were ladies, shopwomen, market women, tradesmen's 
wives, personages of a sadly distinct profession, and young ladies car- 
rying bandboxes, as if they were taking home bonnets ; and there were 
multitudes of little children engaged in every sort of laudable occupa- 
tion, staring, chattering, hooting, crying, screaming, M^ondering ; learning 
how to become thieves, engaged in picking pockets, or occupied in 
being run over. It was a wonderful sight, and all by lamplight ; but 
the reader may wish to know, before we convey the chevalier to the inn, 
at which he was destined to stop, what impression all this made upon 
him. What he thought of it in short. 

The answer may be very soon given. Why, he thought it very like 
the capital of the moon, indeed ; and, had he not inadvertently packed 
up all his billets in his portmanteau, he would certainly have showered 
forth whole handfuUs out of the window, summoning the mixed multi- 
tude to appear at St. Luke's. He did in truth put his hands in his 
pockets, as Worrel asked him, if it did not seem like bedlam broke 
loose. But, finding no tickets there, he merely replied, " Very," and 
in a few minutes after, the coach made a rush at the golden cross, 
Charing-cross, which may well be considered as the centre of every 
thing, except gravity, and at which, consequently, the worthy commis- 
sioner from the moon determined to put up. 










Reader, did you ever see a cat with a mouse ? Did you ever see a 
child with a fly ? Did you ever see a boy tormenting a dog ? Did you 
ever yourself feel inclined to make a fellow-creature linger with long 
impatience upon your sovereign will ? If so, you know quite well the 
pleasure of teasing, and can form a faint, a very faint idea of the delight 
with which an author keeps his public in suspense in regard to this or 
that character, for whom, he is well aware, he has created an interest. 
He will do any thing to prolong your pain ; he will lead you to totally 
different scenes ; he will talk to you of totally different people ; he will 

favour you with an interminable landscape, a la ; he will give 

you a page of pretty smartness, a la ; he will detain you through 

two pages of soft nothing, a la — ; he will tease you with a load 

of frothy philosophy, a la — — ; he will venture to be dull and 
heavy, light and empty, a twaddler or a bore, sooner than not keep you 
upon the tenter hooks of suspense, if he once knows he has thoroughly 
hooked you upon them. Such, dear reader, you may think perhaps is 
the case in the present instance ; but, in good truth, you are mistaken, 
it was merely a sense of imperative duty that led the writer to quit 
fair Laura Longmore, and pursue the Chevalier de Lunatico along his 
appointed path. To return, however, to Outrun Castle, and to the pre- 
cise moment at which we left it — Laura Longmore, being then, as the 
reader recollects, seated in an arm-chair in the antiquated state room, 
with a blazing wood fire before her, and the old-fashioned bed, with its 
carved pillars and green and yellow hangings, behind her; the viscount, 
with rubicund countenance, on one side, the housemaid on the other, 
and four or five stout serving men of different grades and classes, form- 
ing a circle in front, like that which waits the beck of royalty on certain 
days in March, April, May, and June. She herself, poor girl, was 
dazzled, bewildered, and confused, besides being half choked, so that 
she opened both her eyes and her mouth, like some pretty little bird 
when dragged out of a trap by a mischievous boy. 

When first caught by the hands that now brought her to Outrun Castle, 
in the court of her father's house, which she had very imprudently re- 
entered, she had imagined them to be friendly hands, and, finding the 
place somewhat too hot to hold her, had suffered them to carry her away 
very quietly. When she found, however, that they did not take her back 


to her father, she began to ask questions, and very soon after had still 
farther reason to suppose the five gentlemen to have different views 
from her own in the proceeding, from their putting a handkerchief de- 
licately over her mouth, and tying it in a knot behind. The practice 
of locking the stable door after the steed is stolen most men have to 
regret through life, and poor Laura was very sorry indeed that she had 
not screamed before. Nevertheless, she took the opportunity of the 
adjusting this unpleasant sort of cravat to utter two or three very shrill 
cries for help ; but those cries were altogether drowned in the universal 
roar and confusion wliich, as we have already shown, was going on 
round Mr. Longmore's house. Doubtless, at the time that we gave 
that description, the reader, with that spice of saucy criticism, which 
was introduced into Paradise by Satan, and has lurked in man's nature 
ever since the fall, harshly judged that it was altogether unnecessary, 
a superfluity, a redundant excrescence, like one of the long, tiresome 
accounts of a modern romance, or one of the lumps of lobster-salad phi- 
losophy that ornament our most fashionable novels. But no such thing ; 
it was given solely for the purpose of letting the reader see in an after 
place how the cries of poor Laura Longmore were drowned in the riot 
of the fire, and making him open his eyes with wonder at the marvel- 
lous harmony and consistency reigning through every part of this extra- 
ordinary performance. 

However that may be, poor Laura gazed wildly round her when she 
found herself in a strange room ; and although she knew well the comi- 
tenance of the noble viscount, it brought her no satisfactory solution of 
the enigma of her situation. For a moment no words could she utter, 
and, in the meanwhile, the noble lord himself looked with a sharf) and 
eager glance for the face of his butler. 

" Where's Jerry "t" he cried. " Where's Jerry Tripe ?'* His eyes 
turned towards the man who served him in the capacity of chief game- 

" Why, my lord," he replied, touching the top of his forehead with 
the hand that had not his hat in it, " they have bagged him. The 
strange gentleman with the long nose, 1 find — for I stopped a bit 
behind to inquire — doubled upon him, and gave him in charge too." 

" By jingo, that's awkward," cried the peer. " I shouldn't wonder if 
he peached." 

" Lord bless you, my lord, no," cried the gamekeeper. " Jerry will 
waddle off" some way, depend upon it. He knows old Tom the con- 
stable quite well, and will come round him some way." 

" Come here, come here," cried the peer, " we must consult with Tom 

Thus saying, he was about to retreat from the room, when Laura 
suddenly stopped him for a moment by exclaiming, " Qh, my lord, what 
have you brought me here for ?" 

The question was a very simple one, nearly as simple indeed as those 
which her majesty's ministers generally refuse to answer when asked in 
the House of Commons, on the ground of a reply being likely to prove 
detrimental to the public serviee. The peer, however, though well 

108 THE commissioner; or, 

versed in parliamentary forms, took a different view of the matter, and 
having certain good-humoured points in his nature, he replied in a 
cheerful, jolly tone, shaking both Laura's hands, " Come, come, sit 
down ; there's a dear pretty little soul, and you shall hear all about it 
by-and-by. Make yourself comfortable, and take a drop of something 
warm. I'll send you up a jug of mulled claret and a toast, for these 
rough fellows of mine seem to have fetched you out of bed. Sit down 
and warm your feet, and I'll be back again presently. Get out. Hard- 
ness Get out, Blackstone Jack, you blackguard, get out 

Away with every one of you ! Jane, come along you too ; I don't 

choose to have two women laying their heads together." 

Thus saying, he saw his party march out before him rank and file, 
and then left the room himself, turning the great key in the lock behind him. 

" Now, what the devil's the meaning of all this ?" he exclaimed, ad- 
dressing the gamekeeper. " How come you to be three hours too late? 
How come you to have brought the girl in her night things ? You 
have not broken into the house, you rascal, surely ? " 

" Why, the house is burnt down, my lord," replied one of the men. 

" Arson ! ! !" exclaimed the peer, still fancying that his commands 
had been over-acted. But a few words more explained to him that 
Jerry Tripe and his associates, having been sent with the double pur- 
pose of arresting the chevalier and Worrel and carrying off Laura, 
had contrived to forget three hours at a public-house on their way to 
Mr. Longmore's, had wandered about the place for some little time 
concocting schemes for remedying their error, and had just deter- 
mined to effect an entrance upon the pretence of capturing the che- 
valier for his share in the duel, when the fire broke out and pre- 
sented them with all the facilities they could desire. The tidings 
certainly took the peer by surprise. The reader knows that he was 
a frank man in his way ; and, iDlurting forth as usual exactly what he 
felt, he showed what other men in general conceal — namely, imfeigned 
pleasure at that which gave success to his own plans, although it in- 
volved others in ruin and destruction. When he heard, then, of the 
burning of Mr. Longmore's house — of Laura having darted back again 
in search of something which she considered very valuable — of his men 
having pounced upon her through a back door, and carried her off un- 
perceived into the little fir wood behind, he laughed, rubbed his hands, 
chuckled, exclaimed, " Capital, capital !" and vociferated, " It could not 
have happened better. They think her dead ; depend upon it they 

think her dead — roasted, roasted, like a leg of mutton a nice little 

fat roast she'd make too but that's capital Now, we can do with 

her just what we like without any inquiry." 

As he said this he paused in thought, and then said ** A hum ! 
A hah !" then thought again and added in a low tone to himself, " If 

I can but manage to keep Freddy as snug Where's Tom Hamilton ? 

d — n it, I must speak with Tom Hamilton." 

But Tom Hamilton was not so easily found as the peer expected, 
for in truth the worthy lord had entirely forgotten his son's dearly 
beloved friend during the whole evening, and Tom, upon the principle 


of making himself still more beloved, had according to the old axiom, 
taken care of himself. 

Tom Hamilton, it must be known, was a great favourite with the 
whole household. The maids declared that they would work for him by 
night or by day, and as to the men they all found something to admire 
in him, each in his own particular way, for Tom had a great genius 
for many of the arts and sciences on which the various domestics 
prided themselves. He could ride a horse, shoe a horse, or drive a 
horse as well as any man in Europe, and, therefore, he was a great 
friend to the coachman, the grooms, and the helpers, in the stable. 
He was a capital shot, and a famous angler ; knew every thing about 
dogs as well as he did about horses ; could ferret a warren or cast a 
net, or should need be, set a snare with any man — and thus Tom was 
a favourite with the gamekeeper, the lookers, and all the dependants of 
that branch. As for Jerry Tripe, he declared that Mr. Hamilton 
would tell a wine's age to a single^ year by only looking through the 
glass with one eye ; and by talents of a similar kind he had conciliated 
the affections of all the footmen. The result of all tliis was, that 
Tom Hamilton did not go without his dinner, although the peer totally 
forgot him while dining in his son's room, and although almost all the 
servants had been sent out upon different errands. The cook had 
dressed him some cutlets, a fine trout, and a small spring chicken, and 
Jerry Tripe before he went out took especial care that if Mr. Hamilton 
was thirsty, it should not be for want of wine. Thus seated in the 
dining-room by himself, Tom had made Iiimself extremely comfortable, 
had drank the exact portion that made his face glow and his eyes 
sparkle, his heart beat, and his spirits rise without disturbing the 
process of thought in the slightest degree, or making his steps in the 
least unsteady ; and finding that the peer did not come down to enter- 
tain him, he walked out to entertain himself. 

When the viscount then descended from the state chamber, leaving 
Laura behind him, he circum-ambulated the greater part of the house 
without finding the person he sought, and having no other resource he 
went back to the room of his son to consult with him on what steps 
they were to follow. He had scarcely opened the business of the night, 
however when Mr. Hamilton himself appeared, exclaiming with hit 
face towards the peer, 

*' By Jove, my lord, they're all off." 

" Who do you mean Tom, who do you mean ?" cried the viscount. 

" Why our friend Jerry, with Worrel, Joey Pike, and the chevalier," 
answered Tom Hamilton, and in a very few words he explained how 
he had walked forth in the direction of Ivy-hall to meet the party 
which had been despatched thither, and that he had discovered the 
evasion of his fellow-culprits from the gripe of the constables. 

" That's awkward upon my soul," cried the peer. 

" Par-ti-cu-lar-ly unfortunate !" whispered forth Mr. Fitzurse. 
« What's to be done, Tom ?" 

" Why," answered Tom Hamilton, who to say the truth had not 
much fancied the serious part of the business, and now foresaw a good 

110 THE commissioner; or, 

joke. " Why they must be either caught again in a few days, or else 
they must quit this part of the country altogether; so you must keep 
yourself quite snug, Fitzurse — Can't you sham dead a little longer?" 

" He shall by " cried the viscount ; his face assuming a deeper 

shade at the very thought of his son coming to life inopportunely. 
" He shall be dead for the next fortnight, and by the end of that time he 
shall be married. Why, Tom, we have got the girl herein the house." 

" Why, I don't quite like to have any thing to do with that part of 
the matter," replied Tom Hamilton. " I'm afraid, my lord, you'll burn 
your fingers." 

"Whew! never fear," cried the peer. "But that's no business of 
yours, Tom, so don't start difficulties." 

" Why, I see one difficulty," replied the friend, " which you may 
have some trouble in getting over, at all events without my help." 

« What's that ?" cried the peer, half angrily. « What is that ?" 

" Why the coroner's inquest," answered Tom Hamilton. "If Fitzurse 
is dead, depend upon it the coroner will have an inquest upon him." 

" D n the coroner," cried the peer stamping his foot at this un- 
expected obstacle, "I have a great mind to shut him up too." 

" No, no, that will never do," cried Tom Hamilton. 

" By Jove," drawled Mr. Fitzurse, " it would be very pretty sport 
to have such a beast as a coroner up here ; my father wants to make a 
menagerie of the castle." v 

" He's got some odd animals in it already," murmured Tom Hamil- 
ton. " If you leave it to me," he continued, " I'll manage the matter 
for you — only you must be all obedient to my commands. I've got a 
plan for you, viscount, that'll settle this affair in a trice." 

" Name, name," cried the peer, as if he was shouting at a public 

" Why we must let the jury sit upon him," said Tom Hamilton. 
*' The farce will be a very good one, viscount. These are our parts — 
Fitzurse shall be a dead man again ; we'll paint him blue and white, 
and lay him out. You shall be a mourning father, and we'll make you 
smell onions, or give you a bottle of hartshorn till you cry. I'll get 
on a white wig and a black coat with a snuif-box, a gold headed stick, 
knee-breeches, silk stockings, and my cuffs turned up to act the surgeon, 
sent for from London. I'll give evidence regarding the post mortem 
examination of the body." 

" Capital, capital," cried the peer. " By jingo, Tom, you're a hearty 
good fellow. Hang me if we won't have anotlier bottle of champagne 
to drink Success to the dead man and confusion to the coroner's 





It was at the hour of two of the following day. The servants of Out- 
run Castle were marshalled in the hall. Every thing was prepared up 
stairs. The noble viscount dressed — as the newspapers say, in describ- 
ing some criminal at the bar — in a decent suit of mourning, was in the 
little-used library of his dwelling house, with the windows half closed, 
the corners of his mouth convulsively drawn down, and his eyes twink- 
ling with scarcely repressed fun, when a large body of gentlemen, chosen 
from amongst the neighbouring ploughmen, and other respectable 
householders, arrived in a cart upon the gravelly esplanade before Out- 
run Castle, and began ascending the steps. Nearly at the same mo- 
ment a personage with a shrewd, wind-cutting countenance, powder in 
his hair, a pig-tail behind, a black coat, covered with a blacker spenser, 
drab breeches, and continuations, came riding up upon a hard-mouthed 
malicious-looking pony, and received the ssdutations of the assembled 
jury as Mr. Crowner. 

The worthy peer, unable to deny himself his joke, had determined 
upon receiving the whole quest in person, and consequently the coroner 
and train were ushered at once into the library, where he sat in state. 
In then they walked, the crown officer at their head, feeling a vast 
deal of respect for the peer, who was before him, and a vast deal of 
contempt for the jury who were behind. Thus, on entering the chamber, 
the worthy gentleman, who was a ci-devant attorney, paused suddenly 
to make a lowly reverence to the viscount ; but while his head was 
describing the segment of a circle in its descent, a worthy juror who 
followed, and who did not expect this abrupt halt, was impelled forward, 
partly by his own impetus, partly by that of the whole inquest behind ; 
and treading first upon the coroner's heels with his hob-nailed shoes, 
and then endeavouring to fend himself off with his hands, he fairly 
brought his worthy leader on his knees, at the feet of the peer. Up 
started the coroner again with sundry fierce contortions of visage, and 
after three hops of agony, he exclaimed, " Gamaliel Dickens ! Gama- 
liel Dickens ! The man's a born idiot, or I would commit him." 

" Dang it ! Mr. Coroner," cried Gamaliel, taking himself by the 
forelock, "I couldn't help it, mun. It's all your fault, Stubbs." 

Stubbs, with all the skill of an outgoing minister, handed over the 
embarrassment and the blame to his successor, and a voice from be- 
hind, belonging to an ex-volunteer sergeant, was heard exclaiming, 

112 THE commissioner; OB, 

"March! Right shoulders forward! Form in line, and make your 
bows like men !'* 

In the meanwhile Mr. Coroner had recovered himself, and was reve- 
rently shaking the tips of the two fingers which the peer held out to 
him, while the peer himself was pinching his own toe under the table, 
to prevent himself from exploding. 

" A sad affair this, Mr. Gregory," he said, " sad affair ;" and there- 
upon he was seized with a fit of coughing, which served his purpose 
very well ; for, under cover thereof, he got rid of a fit of laughter, 
which might otherwise have thrown him into convulsions. 

" Shocking, my lord, shocking !" cried Mr. Gregory, " to think of 
such a fellow as that young Worrel daring to shoot your lordship's son : 
but we'll manage him, my lord, we'll manage him — though, to say the 
truth, I should not have ventured to hold an inquest in your lordship's 
house, unless it had been by your own particular desire." 

" Oh, of course we must have an inquest," said the peer, " and a 
verdict of wilful murder and all that sort of thing. These gentlemen 
wiU all see the thing in the right point of view, I am sure ;" and carry- 
ing forward his stout stomach with a stately air to the side of the room 
where the jury were ranged in their Sunday best, bowing with all their 
might, he took Mr. Gamaliel Dickens by the hand, making him blush, 
and simper, and cry, " Lank, my lord !" 

" Of course, Mr. Dickens," said the peer, " you all know what you 
come here for ?" 

" To sit upon the yoong gentleman's boady," replied Mr. Dickens, 
with a grin which the peer didn't at that moment understand. 

" And to find a verdict of wilful murder against the man that killed 
him, my good Gamaliel," rejoined Lord Outrun. 

" Joost soa, joost soa, my lord," replied the bumpkin; "ony way 
your lordship pleases.'* 

" And you, Mr. Stubbs," continued the peer : " this is a very shock- 
ing thing, indeed, Mr. Stubbs." 

" Woundy shocking indeed," answered Mr. Stubbs. " I made the 
young loard's leather geeaters : so hang me if I doan't hang him as shot 

" You are quite right, Mr. Stubbs," said the peer. " I dare say you 
are all of one mind ?" 

" Your humble servant to command," replied a third man upon the 
line ; and the volunteer sergeant at the end making a military Salute, 
the peer concluded the whole matter settled, and pointing to the door 
that led into the dining-room, he said — 

" There, Mr. Coroner, is your jury room ; and as you have doubtless 
all come a long way, I have taken care that you should have where- 
withal to pass the time of deliberation pleasantly. You will find roast 
beef and brimming ale for the jurors, and a chicken for the coroner, 
with a bottle of Madeira, which, by jingo — I mean upon my honour — 
has gone twice round Cape Horn. This is all according to rule, I 
think, Mr. Coroner." 


The coroner made a low bow, and his mouth got juicy at the thought 
of the Madeira, but nevertheless he judged fit, at all events, to propose 
a business-like plan, whether it was followed or not, and he asked, 
" Had we not better view the body first, my lord ?" 

" No," replied the peer in a solemn tone, " I think refreshment will 
accuminate your discernment ;" adding, sotto voce^ " the chicken will 
get cold." 

" Oh !" said the coroner, and in he walked into the dining-room, 
guided by a wave of the peer's hand. 

" Dang it," said Stubbs to Dickens, in a low voice, as he followed 
his commanding officers, and beheld a mighty sirloin still hissing and 
crackling at the end of a long table, covered with resplendently white 
damask. "Dang it, Dickens, I didn't know these quests was such 
capital things. I hope there'll be a many more killed in the county." 

" They is'nt all like this, I should think," said Dickens. 

In the meanwhile the whole party advanced to the table, but a slight 
embarrassment ensued from the fact of certain white napkins being laid 
down between each knife and fork, concealing within the labyrinth of 
their folds an excellent piece of white bread. 

" What's this for ?" said Stubbs, as he took his place. 

" To keep the bread cosy, 1 should think," said Dickens, looking 
under his napkin. But at that moment all eyes M'ere turned upon the 
volunteer serjeant, who was a man never embarrassed about any thing. 
He saw the white napkin, he saw the fine red morocco chair ; he was 
conscious that the garments of his nether man might not leave the 
most delicate remembrance on the spot where it was placed. He re- 
membered in his days of pipe-clay having imprinted his exact pro- 
portions upon a horse-hair seat at his colonel's. With a rapidity of 
combination indicative of the man of true genius, and \vithout the 
slightest hesitation to betray ignorance or doubt, he seized the napkin, 
unfolded it, spread it upon his chair, and sat down. Such is the force 
of ease and self-confidence upon the minds of others, that every man 
followed his example on the instant. Can we wonder that they did so, 
having no knowledge whether he was right or not, when we every day 
see, in the first legislative assembly in the world, large bodies of men 
following any self-confident fool that will lead them, knowing him to 
be wrong the whole time. 

The coroner knew better, but he said nothing upon that score, only 
commanded Mr. Gamaliel Dickens, in an authoritative tone, to say 
grace like a Christian; which Mr. Dickens did accordingly, ex- 
claiming — 

" For this here coroner's inquest, Lord make us truly thankful." < 

" Amen," said Mr. Stubbs, and down they sat again. 

The servants, in the meanwhile, who were collected to help them, 
nearly choked themselves with their fingers to prevent themselves from 
roaring with laughter ; but having received a hint from their lord 
that it was not particularly necessary the perceptions of the jury should 
be very clear, they continued to supply them with abundance of good 
ale till such time as the coroner himself thought fit to interpose, and to 

C. — NO. IV. I 

114 THE commissioner; or, 

give a hint that it was necessary they should view the body. Imme- 
diately after these words were spoken, one of the attendants quitted 
the room, and another, after conversing with the coroner, benignly 
offered to show the jury the way, which they were certainly in no 
condition to discover themselves. 

For his part, the crown officer judged that it would be better to 
suffer them to make their inspection without his presence — there being 
yet about four glasses of Madeira in the decanter. The jury, there- 
fore, trooped out, and the coroner remained with his wine, taking his 
first glass leisurely enough, and picking his teeth between whiles : the 
next glass was somewhat more accelerated ; but it had scarcely found 
its way to his lips when the voice of Stubbs was heard, shouting 
aloud from the top of the stairs — 

" Mr. Crowner I Mr. Crbwner ! will you ha' the goodness joost to 
step up and say whether I be to sit upon the boady or not — them 

d d fellows won't let me get on. I came here to sit upon the boady, 

and dang me if I won't, if I have law upon my side." 

This speech was delivered in the tone of a deeply-injured person, 
and the coroner exclaiming — " the idiots !" in a tone of sovereign 
contempt, re-filled and re-emptied his glass, and rushed up stairs. 

The scene that was presented to him at the door of Mr. Fitzurse's 
room, was rather shocking. The assembled body of jurors filled up 
the entrance, some of them looking flushed and indignant, some of 
them looking bewildered, some of them rather merry. Two servants, 
in the convulsions of smothered laughter, were keeping them off from 
the bed of death, whereon, by the dim light of the half-closed shut- 
ters, might be seen lying the outstretched form and pale face of the 
Honourable Henry Frederick Augustus Fitzurse, with two copious 
streams of a red colour distaining his brow and cheeks from a small 
dark spot on his forehead. On the other side of the bed was beheld, 
by the aid of a spirit lamp which threw a ghastly blue glare over the 
whole apartment, a tall portly gentleman with a rosy countenance, 
a powdered wig, with two rows of curls on each side of his head, and 
a stout powdered queue behind. He was dressed in a close cut coat 
of black, well powdered on the collar, a thick *white neckcloth, long 
flapped black waistcoat, black silk breeches and stockings, and silver 
buckles, a gold snuff-box in his hand, a cane hung at his wrist, and 
although he was certainly a very good-looking elderly gentleman, no one 
would have taken him for rollicking Tom Hamilton, unless they were 
much better informed upon the subject than any of the jurors there 
present. At the moment of the coroner's approach that most respect- 
able personage was bending over the corpse of Mr. Fitzurse, aftecting 
busily to smooth down some of the bed clothes, which one of the too 
zealous jurymen had deranged in an effort actually to sit upon the 
body. It was evident, however, that the surgeon — for the coroner 
concluded at once that such must be the character of the personage 
before him — it was very evident, I say, that the surgeon must have 
been a dear friend to Mr. Fitzurse, for as he bent down his head he 
was clearly affected by a spasmodic motion, and warm tears con- 
tinued to fall upon the countenance of the corpse, over whom also, 


he seemed to be muttering some prayer or ejaculation, as his lips 
parted and a low murmuring was heard in the room. 

In front, however, was a much more important person in the eyes 
of the coroner ; being no other than the peer himself. Most unfortu- 
nately, indeed, it happened, that the viscount had been seized at that 
particular moment, with another violent fit of coughing which inter- 
rupted him sadly. 

" Take them away, coroner," he cried, " take them away, (cough, 
cough, cough, cough) we've had quite enough of them, (cough, cough, 
cough,) they've viewed the body, (cough, cough, cough,) and, by 
jingo, now they want to sit upon it ! (cough, cough, cough.) 

" Well, warn't I toald that I were to sit upon 'um," said Mr. Dickens. 
" I want nothing more nor ^" 

" Silence !" cried the coroner. " Have you viewed the body, gentle- 

" Oh, ay, we've viewed 'un," said Stubbs, " but you see, Mr. 
Coroner, " 

" Well, if you have viewed it," said the coroner, who bore his drink 
discreetly, " walk down stairs." 

" Right shoulders forward," cried the ex- volunteer serjeant, " single 
ifile, march ! and away they trooped at the word of command, nearly 
timibling over each other in the rapidity of the descent. 

The coroner brought up the rear — the door of the deceased gentle- 
man's room was shut — and up started the corpse, holding both his 
sides and roaring with laughter ! 

" Hurra !" cried the disconsolate father, sinking into an arm-chair, 
with his heels beating the ground, and his fat stomach heaving up and 
down like a soufflet. 

" Driven them from the field, by Jupiter !" cried the surgeon, hand- 
ing a glass of punch out of the spirit lamp to the corpse ; " but 

d n it, my lord, we must keep serious ; our part isn't played out 

yet, and they have very nearly beaten us already. Why, if that fel- 
low who would sit upon the body had been a little nearer he'd have 
heard the chuckles in the dead man's stomach!" 

" Lord have mercy upon us !" cried "the peer ; " it's capital ! But 
come, Tom, as you say, we must get back our long faces. Give me 
a glass of cold water ; if any thing will make me serious that will. 
There now, that's sad enough ! Come now, Tom, let us go down and 
give evidence. See that your wig's right, old fellow." 

Tom went to a glass, adjusted his curls ; and while the Honourable 
Henry Frederick Augustus took another ladle] full of the revivifying 
fluid, the peer and his companion proceeded to the dining-room, where 
the servants who had brought Mr. Fitzurse home from the scene of the 
fatal affray, as the coroner termed it, were giving, unconsciously, a 
false impression by their true evidence in regard to the death of their 
respectable young master. 

A little bustle ensued upon the entrance of the viscount and Tom 
Hamilton, all the jurors rising, and pulling at the hair upon their 
foreheads, while the two gentlemen took seats beside the coron*. The 
evidence of the servants was soon concluded, and the crown officer 


then turned to the peer, who took the opportunity of presenting Mr. 
Heavitree, the famous surgeon. The coroner and Mr. Heavitree 
bowed, and then the former inquired whether the viscount had any 
information to give upon this melancholy occasion. 

" I shall be very happy," answered his lordship with a rueful air, 
" to answer any questions that may be asked of me." 

" A hem !" said the coroner. " May I ask if you have any precise 
information in regard to the person whose hand committed this sad 
act ? As yet we have nothing but hearsay, for none of the witnesses 
we have examined were present." 

" Why," replied the peer, " I saw a challenge given to my son, 
the night before last, from a young dog of the name of Worrel, and 
so it is natural to conclude that he was the man who shot him." 

" Precisely," replied the coroner with a sapient look. " Pray, my 
lord, is your lordship aware of who was your son's second upon this 
tragical expedition?" 

I The peer cocked his eye at Mr. Heavitree with a look of inde- 
scribable fun, and then replied, 

" Oh, yes. I know quite well. A young rakehelly vagabond 
fellow of the name of Hamilton, better known as Tom Hamilton the 
Blazer, a desperate hand at the bottle and among the girls, a capital 
shot, and rather fond of fishing. Never ask him to any of your 
houses, gentlemen, for he'll drink you out a pipe of Madeira in no time. 
He got the poor boy into a number of scrapes, and I dare say this was 
all his fault if the truth were known." 

The coroner took down all the particulars carefully, and after 
putting a few more very pertinent questions, he turned to the jury 
inquiring if they wished to ask his lordship any thing. 

Up started Stubbs without more ado. 

" Why, my lord," he said, with the usual tug, " I do wish to ax 
your lordship one thing, which is — couldn't you just give us another 
mug of that ere ale ? It's woundy dry work sitting here." 

The coroner reproved him solemnly ; but the peer was more com- 
placent and the ale was brought up ; upon which no farther questions 
were asked by the jury. The coroner then turned to Mr. Heavitree, 
and begged that he would make any statement he thought proper in 
regard to the cause of death. 

Tom now gave back the peer liis shrewd look and replied, 

" I have examined the body of the deceased, and find a small wound 
in the centre of the forehead, which is the only thing about him likely 
to cause death that I can discover. It is not indeed very profound, 
and on examining it I certainly did not reach the brain, but this, from 
my knowledge of the deceased's family, did not surprise me, as that 
organ in his noble house is ordinarily exceedingly small, and perhaps 
in liis case may be wanting altogether." ' 

" Whew!" cried the peer with a long shrill whistle. 

*' My dear sir," said the coroner, " you forget his lordship's presence." 

" Ha, ha, ha !" cried one of the bumpkins who took the joke and 
seemed^ to enjoy it. 

" I do not forget in the least,'' replied Tom Hamilton, imbibing an 


enormous pinch of snufF and looking round with the contemptuous 
superiority of a great siu*geon, who always seems to feel that our 
bones, limbs, muscles, nerves, and arteries are all at his disposal, and 
that he may cut us up morally and physically whenever he pleases. " I 
do not forget at all, Mr. Coroner, nor is there any offence to his lord- 
ship, there are many more men in the world without brains than you 
know of. Now I will very willingly this moment bring down my cir- 
cular-saw, and just take a little bit, not bigger than the'palm of my hand, 
out of the skulls of the gentlemen here present, and I will answer for 
it, that in two heads out of three you^ won't find four pennyweights of 
brains !" 

There was a general bustle amongst the jury and an evident ten- 
dency to run towards the door, Dickens, who 'was a stout fellow, 
muttering to himself — " I'll knock thee down, if thou touchest my 
head !" 

Tom Hamilton, however, proceeded in his character of surgeon — 

" It is a very mistaken idea, Mr. Coroner, that people can't get on 
in the world without brains. For my part I think, physiologically 
speaking, the less brains a man has the better. Why I have known a 
famous ministry keep off and on for ten years together, and not three 
out of the whole party had any brains at all. But to return to the 
matter in hand. My opinion is, that the state to which the Honourable 
Mr. Fitzurse was reduced, as you have it in evidence, about six o'clock 
yesterday morning, was, either by the rapid and violent propulsion of 
some small hard substance — whether round or angular, 1 cannot take 
upon myself to say — against the central part of the os frontis : or by 
the violent and rapid propulsion of his os frontis against some small 
hard substance — whether round or angular I have no means of knowing.'* 

" That is to say," said the coroner, " that either a pistol ball came 
and knocked a hole in his head, or he went and knocked his head 
against a pistol ball ?" 

" You will put what interpretation upon my words you please, sir," 
replied the pretended surgeon with an air of profound wisdom, 
" I have given my opinion ; and as this is a delicate matter I shall 
say no more." 

" Very right too," cried Stubbs ; " for my part, Mr. Crowner, I 
think the matter's very clear. It's a case of manslaughter." 

" Halloo !" cried Dickens. " Manslaughter ! I think it's summut 
wuss than that." 

" Why how can that be ?" cried Stubbs. " If it had been a woman 
it would have been murder, but as it's a man it's manslaughter!" 

" I vote for feely-de-se /" said a small tailor from the end of the 
table ; and every man now put forth his opinion, each being different 
from the other. Some insisted upon homicide, some upon murder, 
some upon petty larceny. 

The coroner then rose and obtained silence, in order to explain to 
the gentlemen the real meaning of the various terms they had picked 
up like children gathering pebbles on the sea shore, without knowing 
what they really were. Being also primed and loaded by the worthy 
viscount, he gave them very broadly to understand that their verdict 


l\$ THE commissioner; or, 

must be one of murder, and was going on to mark clearly the distinc- 
tions between that crime and any other, when a gentleman, of a very 
thoughtful and considerate look, rose solemnly, scratched his head, and 
said — 

" Well, Mr. Crowner, I don't know but I can't make out that 

hoale in his head !" 

The matter had well nigh begun all over again. The coroner, how- 
ever, stopped imperiously this system of trying back, and having so 
explained the matter that he thought there was no possibility of the 
men coming to any but one conclusion, he left it like other high 
officers, in the hands of the jury. After a moment's consultation, 
however, to his horror and astonishment the personage who acted as 
foreman returned a verdict of " Wilful murder against the Honourable 
Henry Frederick Augustus Fitzurse, and other persons unknown," 
and to this they stuck in spite of all the coroner could say. 





The Chevalier de Lunatico was an early man, and although the Golden 
Cross, Charing Cross, is one of those houses in which one can practise 
early habits with greater impimity than any where else, yet even there 
he scared a dull housemaid on the stau-s, who was listening to some- 
thing that Boots was saying with their faces very close together. 
They both concluded that he must be the gentleman who was going 
by the five o'clock heavy Bristol, and Boots began to inquke concern- 
ing his luggage. 

The chevalier, however, set him right ; and issued forth into the 
streets of London, gazing round him with the curiosity which the 
scenes ot the great metropolis might naturally produce. He had the 
tairest opportunity in the world of studying proper names— which, let 
me tell the reader, is no unimportant chapter in the natural history of 
national character. There they stood, in long rows against the 
boarded-up wmdows of the shops— sometimes bearing a clear or a 
mystic relerence to the trades which were inscribed after them ; some- 
times set up in fierce opposition to the sort of business which the 
proprietors had chosen. There was Mr. Gold, the jeweller, and Mr. 
fepratt, the fishmonger, and Mr. Woollen, the hosier, and Mr. Bond, 
the law-stationer : while on the other hand, appeared Mr. Hogsflesh, 
the perfumer, Mr. Boxer, the man-milliner, Mr. Silver-tongue, the 
brass-founder, and Mr. Rotten, the pork-butcher. There wal a Mr. 
Ramsbottom who dealt in lace, and on one door appeared Mr. Heavy- 
sides, professor of dancmg. Mr. Stone dealt in feather-beds, and Mr. 


Golightly in Chesliire cheeses. We could go a great deal farther, and 
tell all the manifold curious nomens and cognomens that the chevalier 
examined and noted down; but to say the truth the subject is a 
delicate one, and — besides all the filthy and obscene names with which 
Englishmen have thought fit to bedizen themselves, and which , made 
Mr. de Lunatico judge that at least one half of the people ought to 
remigrate to his own sphere — there may be many a one which might 
offend some of our dearly beloved readers to have handled lightly, and 
therefore we forbear. Onward went the chevalier however, with his 
peculiar jaunty and inquiring look, remarking the various classes who 
at that early hour take their way out, and begin the miseries and 
labours of the day. But we must not trespass by our descriptions 
upon the peculiar walk of any gentleman who has written upon the 
humorous city of London ; for as in every other profession, particular 
individuals are allowed to establish a right prescriptive in certain 
walks, there is no reason why the same should not hold good with 
authors also. Milkmen, pickpockets, women of the town, are all very 
tenacious in this respect ; and although authors may be an inferior 
class, as the government seems to think them, they may perhaps im- 
prove by aping their betters. We will therefore simply give a few of 
the chevalier's brief notes, recording his matutinal excursion through the 
streets of the great metropolis. After commenting upon the names he 
goes on. 

" Mem. All men in London before six o'clock walk with their 
shoulders up to their ears, and their hands in their pockets. Query — 
Can they be afraid that if they took theirs out other people would put 
their hands in ? N.B. — All I met were of a class which seemed to 
have the least cause for fearing such a process. 

" Mem. That the noses of all cobblers who live in stalls in London 
are red, and turn up at the point. Query. — Can this proceed from^ 
frequent hammering between the nose and the lapstone ? N.B. — It 
is but natural the nose should keep itself out of the way. 

" Mem. The quantity of cabbage consumed in London must be 
immense. In Covent Garden alone I saw coming in enough to supply 
the whole moon. N.B. — They must dress their cabbage in gin, for 
there was a very strong smell of that fluid amongst all the people col- 
lected to buy and sell. Mem. To try the experiment when I get 

" Mem. Saw a gentleman leaning against a post at the corner of 
a street called Russell ; was hiccupping violently, and looking as if he 
did not see very distinctly, nevertheless he was preaching to a mob of 
boys around him who are picking his pocket. The sermon was 
tolerable. He must have been a clergyman because he had on a black 
coat. N.B. — The English clergymen preach in the open air. Query — 
Do they always preach drunk?" 

Now the reader may suspect that we are joking with him, and 
say at once from his knowledge of such things, these are the notes of 
a Frenchman, or of an American, and not of the Chevalier de Lunatico. 
He would never generalize upon individual instances, or take up ideas 
tastily, or conceive first impressions to be the true means of judging 


Nay, reader, I did not say that he relied upon these impressions. He 
only took them down as they occurred that he might remember them 
afterwards, but he did not publish them as facts till he had probed 
their reality. Asking his way as he went, he proceeded without many 
deviations from the right track, to the beavitiful precincts of Fetter- 
lane ; and, on entering the narrow passage of the Black Dog, where the 
people by this time were beginning to crawl about — the men with 
their slippers on, and the women with their hair rolled tightly round 
lumps of brown paper, he had the felicity of seeing his faithful fol- 
lower, Joey, engaged in the pleasant morning occupation of making 
somewhat warm and very graceful love to an extremely pretty barmaid, 
upon whose cheeks, peeping through a thick coating of black smoke, 
were seen lilies and roses which might have graced the country. If 
difficulty of attainment be the measure of value, the fair barmaid was 
certainly a prize worth having. She had despised bagmen, trampled 
upon hucksters, and treated head-waiters with sovereign contempt. 
But it was evident that she was not proof against Joey's perfect self- 
complacency, which in almost every case is one of the most potent 
weapons that can be employed against the female heart. Men fre- 
quently rank another according to his estimation of himself, but women 
always do. 

Joey was not in the slightest degree abashed at being caught in the 
fact ; indeed, the only thing on earth that could abash him would have 
been any want of grace whatever. So long as he was Apollo in his 
own eyes, he felt a glorious confidence in his powers that nothing 
could shake. Awkwardness was the only bugbear of his imagination ; 
and now as he happened to be leaning gracefully towards the right, 
with his arm half encircling the waist of the fair barmaid, while it 
seemed but leaning on the chair, his head lolling somewhat negligently 
towards the left shoulder, and his eyes rolling languidly over the features 
of the Fetter-lane beauty — one leg extended, and one^toe pointed — Joey 
felt that the eyes of the whole world might rest upon him with satis- 
faction to them, and applause to him. As soon as he beheld the 
chevalier, with a simper of joyful satisfaction he withdrew his arm, 
took three steps forward, laid his hand upon his heart, or rather his 
velvet waistcoat, bowed profoundly, took a step backward, and bowed 
again. Explanations were then entered into, with which it is unneces- 
sary to trouble the reader ; and Joey in due form introduced the 
chevalier as his master to the fair Elise de Tuppins, as he called the 
pretty barmaid, who he informed Mr. de Lunatico was from his own 
paese. Arrangements were made for Joey's immediate removal to the 
Golden Cross, Charing Cross; and, taking a tender leave of Miss 
Tuppins, he accompanied his master on his way thither. 

The first object that presented itself to the chevalier on issuing'forth 
from the door of the Black Dog, was a wretched being attired in an 
old tattered pair of corduroy trowsers, through which his knees were 
perceptible, without stockings and without shoes. The only other 
covering that he seemed to possess was a sallow shirt little less torn 
than his nether garment ; and with his hands under his arms to keep 
them warm, treading tenderly upon the hard stones, he took his shiver- 


ing way along, as miserable a looking creature as it is possible to 
behold. The chevalier's bowels of compassion were instantly moved. 
" Is it possible," he exclaimed to himself, " that such misery can exist 
in a capital of a country overflowing with wealth, plunged in luxury, 
and loaded with splendour ?" 

Putting his hand in his pocket, he instantly gave the poor wretch 
half-a-crown, who replied in a tone of the deepest gratitude : — " God 
bless your honour !" at the same time, however, he raised his 
eyes to the face of the chevalier, and instantly compelled by the 
commissioner's peculiar powers to display his real feelings, he rolled 
his tongue into his cheek, winked his right eye most knowingly, and 
said, " Well done, old covey, this will get me a pint of gin, and oyster- 
sauce to my beefstake. We'll have a flare up to-night when my 
woman comes home. She's out with Mother Gammon's two best 
babies, and will bring home half-a-guinea at least.' 

" Pray what do you mean by her two best babies ?" demanded the 
chevalier in a sweet tone. 

" Why, what a flat you are," said the poor unhappy mendicant ; 
"but I'll tell you all about it. Why Mother Gammon has got twelve 
or fourteen of them babies ; but Lord bless ye, some of 'em is not 
worth nothing at all, great, fat, rosy things, that goes a laughing and 
talking no how. But I says to my woman, says I, Vot's good's 
always cheapest in the end. So you give sixpence a piece more for 
the two best on 'em ; and capital babies they is. One's as yellow as 
a guinea, and t'other's well nigh humpbacked, and they've had sitch 
a hedecation that they'll set up a cry o' theirselves when they see a 
soft chap at the end of the street. They've a natural instinct as 
teaches them when a feller's a flat the moment they sees him ; so 
they're well woth the money." 

" Then in short," said the chevalier, " you're not quite so badly off" 
as these rags would make you appear" 

" Lord bless ye," cried the man, " I hires them duds, my own 
toggery's all at home, only I chuse to be upon the loose lay just now, 
'cause you see the mendicity folks had well nigh nabbed me when I 
was in the literary department. I don't mind telling you all this, now 
I've got your half-crown ; but I must be jogging, for there's the old cove 
who walks regular to change along Fleet-street and Cheapside, who 
never misses his shilling and that was reckoned against me when I 
took the walk." 

" And so," said the chevalier, " it is really a volimtary act of yours to 
go shivering along in this sharp morning, enduring all the miseries of 
utter destitution without the slightest occasion, when you might keep 
yourself comfortably by honest labour without half these privations. I 
must beg your acceptance of a ticket if you please. You must be 
mad, my good sir." 

The man put aside the ticket the chevalier offered him with the 
back of his hand, replying in a tone of supreme contempt, " No, no, 
none of that ere humbug, no tickets for me. Honest industry's all 
my eye ; why, upon the loose lay I can make my half-guinea a-day 
comfortable ; and in this cursed country I couldn't get half-a-crown 

122 THE commissioner; OB, 

any other way, if I were to work my fingers to the bone. France is 
the only country for a man of genius. I should have been one of the 
ministers by this time if I'd have been born in France. I must wet 
my whistle first, however ; so good morning to ye old un," and he 
turned away. 

"What does he mean by wetting his whistle?" demanded the 
chevalier, turning to Joey Pike. 

" Merely, eccelleneza, that he is going to take Quelque chose de 
courte" replied Joey Pike ; and the chevalier walked on as wise as he 
was before. 

The beggar's last speech, however, put him in mind that he had a 
letter for one of the ministers, and he determined, without fail, to 
present it that day, as well as the other letters Mr. Longmore had sent 
him. He, therefore, hurried his pace to get back, passing by some of 
the most splendid shops in the world, now wide open and displaying 
large sheets of plate-glass, each pane of which Joey Pike assured 
him, would be a fortune for a poor man. 

"How can they afford to make such a display?" demanded the 

" Oh, they have two plans," replied Joey, " sometimes one obtains 
success, sometimes the other. They charge their customers twenty 
per cent, more for the plate-glass, or else they become bankrupt." 

" But the latter is ruin," said the chevalier. 

" Scoosy /" replied Joey Pike, " it is the first step towards making a 
fortune. No tradesman ought to think of keeping more than a one- 
horse chay before he becomes bankrupt, but afterwards he may set up 
a pair." 

" I suppose," rejoined the chevalier, " that the latter is the general 
alternative then, for very few customers will be fools enough to give 
twenty per cent, more for goods because they are exhibited behind 

" Pardonnez moi, monsieur y^^ replied Joey, in a sweet tone ; " I 
believe they might put on thirty. We are all the slaves of our eyes ; 
and as they say, one may catch larks with a mirror, so you may catch 
customers in London with plate-glass." 

" I think I shall beg of the proprietors," said the chevalier, " to put 
up in the window, tickets for the moon to be had within." 

" They would have a vente prodigious,^* said Joey : " people would 
buy thousands of them out of mere curiosity." 

" What ! would curiosity carry them to the moon ?" demanded the 

" It has taken many a man and woman too to a worse place," said 
Joey, and on the chevalier walked ruminating upon all he saw and 

On his arrival at the Golden-cross he found Worrel seated with a 
portly man of a dull and self- conceited countenance, who was instantly 
introduced to him as Mr. Lillywhite, the editor of the well-known 
Pansophisticon newspaper of science and literature. He loaded the 
chevalier with civilities, gave him an invitation to his house, (which 
the chevalier at once accepted,) and as he was taking leave whispered, 


" K you could write something, exclusively, for our paper ; a letter 
from abroad, a tour in the moon, the review of some of your prin- 
cipal lunatic productions, a totally new view of astronomy, or, if you 
have yourself dabbled in a literary way, a laudatory article of your 
own work, we shall be delighted to give it insertion. Think of it, 
think of it, we are capital pay. Think of it till we meet again. 
Won't you and Mr. Worrel dine with me some day soon ?" 

Worrel begged leave to decline, saying that his mind was not in a 
state to enjoy society. But the chevalier accepted again, and the 
worthy fat gentleman rolled out of the room. 








And what had become of Laura Longmore all this time? The 
question is certainly a very pertinent one and shall be answered as 
speedily as possible. We left her, as the reader may remember — if not 
exactly in her night-gear, certainly not much ;better clothed than when 
she went to bed — in the midst of the state apartment of Outrun 
Castle, wondering what she could be brought there for, and 
troubling her brain to very little purpose to devise some motive for 
the peer's conduct. Laura, as the reader perhaps may have some 
suspicion, though a dear tender-hearted little creature with all the soft 
graces and womanly sweetness that make a young girl of her years 
the most pleasant thing on earth, had likewise a considerable portion 
of good common sense, and — though she was certainly not more than 
a-third of her father's age — she possessed at least three times his 
knowledge of the world. She therefore speedily rejected the idea 
which at first suggested itself to her mind under the influence of 
terror, that the noble viscount had carried her off out of revenge for 
the death of his son, and that he would inflict upon her some very 
grievous punishment. She soon convinced herself that he had some 
more worldly object in view, though what that was she could not 
divine, and whether he intended to marry her himself or what else 
he could possibly design to do with her was a question which puzzled 
her very much indeed. She sat down in the gi'eat arm-chair before 
the fire, she toasted the pretty little foot that was without a slipper 
in the glow of the blazing logs, she looked back to the fine old bed- 
stead with its magnificent hangings, she gazed at the large old trimk 
fiUed with antique linen, and she ran her eye over the garments which 


had been hung up to air, and whichever way she turned she asked 
herself with a bewildered mind, " What can it all mean ?" 

She could make nothing of it, however : it seemed to her the most 
strange and inconsistent act that ever was performed, and she was 
fain to wait for the promised return of the noble lord in the hope of 
obtaining some satisfactory explanation. As we have shown, how- 
ever, for a considerable time his lordship forgot his charge altogether, 
and in consultations and potations deep with his honourable son and 
Tom Hamilton, spent nearly an hour, while poor Laura knew not 
what to do, or which way to turn herself. The thing that decided 
her was the fire getting low, for the large brown logs soon dwindled 
down into long red firebrands, and the long red firebrands in time 
sank into white powder and glowing embers. It is wonderful how 
often habit acts much better than reason. Simply as a matter of 
custom, on seeing that the fire was declining Laura put out her hand 
seized the large embroidered satin bell-rope, and gave it a pull. This 
act instantly produced a, sound such as no other bell-rope in the house 
would have called forth. The bell with which it corresponded was a 
very old one, but unlike many other old belles, it had a very sweet 
and silvery, but solemn voice, soft, yet penetrating, so that, although 
it rang at a great distance in the housekeeper's room, Laura herself 
heard it, and started she did not well know why. 

At the moment that Laura pulled the bell-rope three maids were in 
the housekeeper's room giving the respectable functionary to whom it 
belonged an opportunity of playing first fiddle in a gossiping concert. 
All four started and looked up at the bell, and the housekeeper 

" It's the state-room bell ! Run up, Jane, and see what the young 
lady wants." 

Jane hesitated, and looked as if she would rather not, and the house- 
keeper, who had a fund of compassion for all human infirmities, and 
was just such a jolly old soul as might be supposed to act in good 
harmony with Mr. Jeremy Tripe, added, observing her doubtful look, 

" Well, you foolish girl, if you're afraid, Nelly will go, she's a heart 
of oak, and would defy any ghost in Christendom !" 

" Please, ma'am, I'd rather Sarah went with me," said Nelly Thom- 
son, notwithstanding the courage which the housekeeper ascribed to 
her, and so it was settled, Sarah, otherwise Sally, accompanying Miss 
Thomson to the state chamber, each looking forward with very wide 
eyes along the passages after they had passed a certain turn of the 

" Lawk, Sally, how you are a puffing," said Nelly Thomson, as they 
approached the door ; why there's nothing to be afraid on." 

" I don't know that," said Sally, in a solemn tone ; " and if there 
ain't, why did you make me come with you, Nell ?" 

Now let us pause to hold up our hands and eyes in astonishment at 
the wonderful precision, accuracy, and brevity of this our history, 
which contains not a word that will not be found in the end absolutely 
necessary to the right understanding of the story. It is miraculous, 
it is sublime, it is transcendental ; we are lost in admiration of our- 


selves. Let not the reader vainly think, when he finds what he 
imagines a superfluous description, an incident that seems unnecessary, 
a character that appears to hang loose, an imcalled for elaboration, 
a stupid piece of philosophy, a longueur in short of any kind ; let 
him not vainly suppose that it was without its object, but strangling 
the incipient yawn between his teeth, let him look forward to the 
climax, to the consummation of the whole, where he will find that 
the most minute circumstance, the most trifling word, down to tlie 
redness of Jerry Tripe's nose to an " an" to a " the" bear directly 
and strikingly upon the end in view. 

Did we not, dear reader, tell you, as we described the approach of 
the Chevalier de Lunatico on his visit to Outrun Castle, that one wing 
of the house was in utter darkness ? Did we not describe a certain 
ruinous look about the place ? Did we not endeavour to produce 
in your mind that feeling of awful expectation which is created by the 
blue lights in Don Giovanni just before the ghost appears ? and could 
we have any other object in view than that of preparing you to hear 
that the dark wing of the castle had the terrible reputation of being 
haunted ? 

Such, then, was the case with the whole of that suit of rooms, 
passages, galleries, corridors, and staircases, of which the state 
apartment was the first, and such was the cause of the agitation and 
alarm exhibited by the two maidens. Presenting themselves, then, 
in a couple to poor Laura Longmore, they dropped two curt'seys 
one rapidly following the other, and asked her what she wanted. 

" In the first place," she said, " I want some more wood upon the 
fire, and in the next place, I want to know if Lord Outrun is coming, 
as he promised, to give me some explanation of the conduct pursued 
towards me." 

" I'll see directly, Miss," said Nelly Thomson. 

" I'll see directly. Miss," said her companion, in a still more nervous 
and agitated tone. 

Both went out for a moment, both came in again bearing a large 
basket of wood, both made up the fire, and both once more retreated, 
taking care to lock the door behind them. Proceeding immediately 
in search of the viscount, they found that he was in the chamber of 
the ex- corpse, and thither Nelly Thomson and Sarah took their way : 
Nell, who was in the secret, understanding the whole matter very well ; 
but Sarah, who was in the dark respecting Mr. Fitzurse's resuscitation, 
thinking it very odd that her lord, who was not fond of grave subjects, 
should keep company with his dead son more than necessary. Her 
surprise was still more increased on hearing loud peals of laughter 
proceeding from the chamber of death. Being, really, a good and 
feeling girl, she paused upon the stairs, while her companion went 
on and knocked at the door. Thereupon, in about a minute the peer's 
head was protruded, demanding what the devil she wanted. On 
hearing her errand he seemed surprised, and it must be owned a little 

" By jingo, I had forgot her altogether," he exclaimed — poor little 
soul, what's to be done ? D — n it, take her up a bottle of Madeira 

126 THE commissioner; or, 

and a cold fowl, or something of that kind. Tell her to make herself 
comfortable, and go to bed and sleep, and Vl\ come and see her 

The maid did as she was bid, still accompanied by Sarah ; and poor 
Laura Longmore having no other resource, followed the peer's advice 
so far as going to bed was concerned. The next day proved a very 
unsatisfactory one to her ; for, although she received every attendance 
and comfort that maid-servants could give her — though breakfast, 
dinner, coffee, tea, and the peer's grand panacea of champagne, were 
liberally supplied — Lord Outrun came not himself, nor did he send 
any message. The door was regularly locked upon her ; and neither 
threats, entreaties,"persuasions, nor promises, would induce the maids 
to give her the means of escaping from the durance in which she was 

Partly by way of amusing herself, partly from the necessity of her 
case, Laura was obliged to examine a portion of the contents of 
the large trunk which had been brought in to the state chamber, and 
apply some of the apparel that it contained to her own use — smiling 
at the quaint and antiquated form of the garments, and taking care to 
cover the whole that she thought fit to put on, with her own smart little 
dressing-gown. The greater part of the day was passed at the window, 
which looked over the park, but which afforded not the slightest pros- 
pect of escape, so high was it from the ground. 

For some hours the poor prisoner kept up her spirits pretty well ; 
but as night came on she began to get low and melancholy, and imagi- 
nation filled the chamber with spectres of many unpleasant things. 
Now, let not the reader make a mistake: the spectres that she sa^ 
were not of the kind that the maid-servants of Outrun Castle dreaded ; 
for Laura had lived too long amongst telescopes and electrical machines 
to have any very great respect for ghosts. No : she saw Harry Worrel 
surrounded with all sorts of difficulty, dangers, and discomforts — she 
saw him in agony at her loss, and she appreciated very justly, from 
the feelings of her own heart what were actually the feelings of his. 
She saw her father's despair at the idea of her death, and she was 
grieved to think that that despair would be aggravated by the know- 
ledge that his last acts towards her had not been those of kindness. 
It was with visions of this kind that she peopled the room ; and as 
she sat watching the embers of the fire, while hour after hom* of dark- 
ness went by, she felt cold and chilly, and tried in vain to warm herself 
by piling up the wood till it blazed on high. She was still in hopes 
that Lord Outrun would keep his promise. She knew that his habits 
were late, and she was, consequently, not disposed to go to bed till all 
chance of the visit was over. She looked round, therefore, for some- 
thing to cast over her shoulders, and remembering the box of old 
apparel, she went to it, and searched for something that might shelter 
her from the cold. After removing two or three articles of lace and 
linen, she came to what seemed to have been a ball dress of light 
grey satin, cut in an antique shape, of a fashion even more remote 
than the rest of the apparel, and close imderneath it a small black 
mantilla with a hood, which she instantly seized upon as the thing she 


wanted. Before she put it on, however, she stood for a moment con- 
templating the satin dress, and, as in moments of temporary depression, 
the monitory convictions which all arrive at in the end of their days 
of the vanity of our joys, and the still greater vanit}^ of our amuse- 
ments, come, like dark shadows, into the sunshiny presence of 
youth, even gay and happy Laura Longmore — happy in the cheerful 
summer of an innocent heart — asked herself sadly who was the being 
who had borne that garment to ball or pageant, of play or merry- 
making — who was she? what had been her fate? where was she now? 
It seemed as if the mantilla and the gown had been laid by immedi- 
ately after having been worn, and she was seized with a strong desire 
of putting them on together, which, as there was nothing to prevent it, 
she soon accomplished, and then gazed at herself in the large cheval glass, 
and smiled to see what a quaint old figure she had made of herself. 

" Now," she thought, "if Lord Outrim comes, I s)iall be dressed to 
receive him;" and down she sat again before the fire, and waited till 
the clock chimed the half hour. 

" Half-past eleven I" said Laura to herself; " he will surely not come 
now. It is very cold: I wonder where that wind comes from. It 
blows in with a terrible draught." 

Thus thinking, she rose and approached the side of the room from 
which the current of air seemed to proceed. The chamber was lined 
with large panels of old oak, bordered with immense garlands of very 
well carved flowers, and where the draft came from became evident 
in a moment. There was a key-hole big enough to have satisfied any 
lord chamberlain in Europe, and an ebony handle, which, from its 
colour, Laura had not distinguished from the rest of the old carving. 
Her heart beat when she saw it ; but do not let the reader suppose that 
the pretty little heroine of this chapter was one of those ladies who 
coidd faint with apprehension at the sudden sight of a brass knocker, 
or even the ebony handle of a lock. Her heart beat, but it was with 
the thought that this key-hole and this handle might give her the means 
of making her escape. 

" They may, not have locked this door," said Laura to herself, 
" though they have locked the other ;" and instantly putting her hand 
upon the friendly ebony, she turned it with some little difficulty, 
pushed gently, and the door opened without resistance. 

Before her lay a short corridor, and by the dim light that suddenly 
flashed down it from the room in which she was, she saw clearly 
enough to distinguish that there was the balustrade of a staircase at the 
end. Laura had well nigh clapped her hands with joy, but just at that 
moment, a distant door banged, and saying to herself " He is coming," 
she closed the door with all speed, and getting back to her chair, sat 
down by the fire, and looked as demure as possible. 

All was silent, however, and though Laura remained in the same 
position for at least a quarter of an hour, not the slightest sound gave 
warning of the .approach of any one. 

" I will see where that leads to before I sleep," said Laura ; " and 
though, perhaps, I cannot get away to-night, I will not be long ere I 
find an opportunity." 


She waited a quarter of an hour more, and then after having 
counted the clock strike twelve, she rose, and as the first precaution, 
bolted the principal door of the room in the inside. 

" He will never come now," she thought, " and if he do, he will 
think I am in bed and asleep." 

The next question was, should she take with her a little hand lamp 
which the maids had left with her to burn during the niglit, but she 
instantly negatived this in her own mind, saying, " the candles will throw 
light enough down the passage for the first attempt ; I can come back 
for the lamp if I need it." Siie then opened the lesser door cautiously, 
placed a chair against it to keep it from closing behind her, and after 
listening for a moment or two with a throbbing bosom, but without 
hearing any sound, she advanced with a gliding stealthy pace along 
the corridor, and reached the top of the staircase. There was a tall 
window above it, through which the moon was now streaming clearly, 
and by her bright light Laura descended slowly till she- came within 
two or three steps of the bottom. At that instant, however, a door 
exactly opposite burst suddenly open, and a stout, jovial-looking man, 
with a long red nose, rushed in with a light in his hand. The first 
thing that presented itself to his eyes was Laura, in her old-fashioned 
grey satin gown, and black mantilla, with the hood drawn over her 
head, and the clear moonlight streaming full upon her. For an instant 
she stood rivetted to the step, as if turned into marble, but the next 
moment recovering her presence of mind, she determined to ask for 
the viscount, and waving her hand with graceful dignity, she said, in 
her sweet silvery voice, "Tell me where is — " 

She got no farther, however, before Jerry Tripe, who had stood 
shivering and gazing at her with a face that had but one red spot left 
in it, let fall the lamp, sank upon his knees, and, clasping his hands, 
exclaimed," Oh, my lady, ma'am ! I haven't got it ! It's old Sca- 
pulary — he that's murdered !" and down he fell upon his face in a 
fainting fit. 

Laura, at once comprehended [that she was taken for a ghost, and 
although the words she had heard excited her curiosity not a little, she 
was wise enough to take advantage of the moment of the butler's 
fainting, to dart up the stairs again like lightning, and run along the 
corridor to her own room. She paused, however, to secure the key 
which was on the outside of the door, and just as she was closing it, 
the wisdom of the course she had pursued was proved to her satis- 
faction, by a thick jolly voice ascending from the stairs she had just 
quitted in somewhat drunken tones, and exclaiming, " Conie, Jerry, 

give us t'other bottle — my lord will never know — why d n, it's 

tripped his heels ! — He's drunk ! — Ha ! ha ! ha ! — Whoever saw good 
liquor get the better of Jerry Tripe before ?" 

Laura stayed to hear no more, but closed the door, locked it, hid 
the key in the most secret place she could find, and putting by the grey 
satin dress and mantilla carefully for further use, went to bed, and 
remained thinking what the butler's words could mean, till she fell 

//^^-^ '-^-"y?/^^ 





Pray, reader, put on your seven-league boots, and take four 
steps with them from Outrun to London. The despondency imder 
which poor Worrel laboured, as we before described, seemed rather 
to increase than to diminish ; and when Mr. Lillywhite was gone, the 
chevalier turning round beheld him with his eyes covered over by 
his hand, plunged into a deep and painful reverie. It grieved the kind 
heart of our commissioner not a little to see him in this state ; but 
being a wise and prudent man, he knew that grief must have its way for 
a certain time, and although he resolved to reason with him on the sub- 
ject, he thought it would be best to postpone his homily till such time as 
he could talk with him more at large : it being now his purpose, as we 
have hinted, to go at once to pay a visit to one of the ministers. 
Breakfasting hastily, the chevalier procured a conveyance and rolled 
away to the house of the great man, desiring rather to see him in 
his own private residence than at his office. Joey Pike was upon the 
box of the coach, and took pains to announce his master as " Son 
Excellence le Chevalier de Lunatico ;" but if there be any truth in 
the old proverb of like master like man, our worthy friend did not 
seem likely to meet with a very cordial reception. The minister's 
servant gazed over Joey with a cold, stiff, supercilious look — such as 
some hard old Etruscan in bronze might be supposed to put on when 
viewing the Venus de Medici. He only deigned at first to utter two 
words which were, " By appointment ! '* and receiving a negative, 
he added three more, " Not at home!" After which he was shutting 
the door in order to retire to his arm-chair in the hall window, 
without even waiting to see if the carriage drove off. 

" Stop a moment," said the chevalier, putting his head out and 
speaking in a tone of authority. " Be so good as to take that note to 
your master immediately, and that card, and tell him that the gentle- 
man who gave them to you is Malting his leisure." 

" But, sir ," said the servant in a tone considerably more humble. 

" Don't hut me, sir," replied the chevalier in an imperious manner, 
very well knowing how to deal with a Jack-in-office ; " don't but me, 
but do as I order you." 

The porter turned to a man out of livery who was now appearing 
through a pair of folding doors, and delivered over to him the note, 
the card, and the message. The other retired with it, and soon after 
re-appeared, inviting the chevalier in courteous tones to come in. Mr. 
de Lunatico descended from the vehicle with a slow and sedate step — 
made a few observations to Joey Pike in a low tone, as if he were 
giving him orders upon which the safety of the universe depended— 
c. — NO. V. K 


and then entered 'the house with a grave and thoughtful air, seeming 
scarcely to see that there were two such beings on the earth as the 
lackeys who now stood reverentially at the- doors. The reader will 
clearly perceive by all this that the chevalier was an old diplomatist. 
The lackeys, however, had their revenge, for they showed him into an 
anteroom, where he was doomed to wait for a full hour ; while the 
great man, who was very busy with a pet spaniel bitch, concluded the 
affairs of the morning to his own satisfaction. At length, however, he 
received a summons ; and the servant who conveyed it was disap- 
pointed to find that the commissioner, having met with paper, pens, and 
ink upon the table, was just as busily engaged as if he had been in his 
own writing-room. Four sheets had he covered with his own parti- 
cular language ; and after deliberately folding them up and putting 
them into his pocket, he followed to the room of the minister. 

We will not describe him minutely, as the chevalier has done : for, 
although we have before asserted, and repeat, that every individual 
herein mentioned — except the chevalier, Harry, Laura,' Joey, and 
Tom Hamilton — ^from the beggar of a few pages back to the minister 
at present under our hands, is defunct, dead, gone to his ancestors 
— and every one has ancestors of some kind, such as they are — yet, as 
the charitable public is so fond of fitting every man with a cap, 
Avhether it be his own or not, we should doubtless have Mr. de 
Lunatico's description clapped upon the head of some poor little, 
unoffending minister, and patted down to make it fit the better. 

The honourable secretary received his visitor with cold and froglike 
civility, looked at him askance, and begged him to be seated. Doubt- 
less, he thought he was come to ask him some favour, and got all his 
prickles up like a hedgehog, to repel him at every point. But scarcely 
had he set eyes upon him, when the chevalier's powers began to have 
their effect : an unwilling smile came upon his countenance ; and he 
who had never for the last ten or twelve years of his life displayed 
his own motives and purposes to any one — no, not to himself, — felt an 
irresistible desire to pour them all forth into the ear of his new acquaint- 
ance without concealment or reserve. After inquiring about the health of 
his old acquaintance, Mr. Longmore, he proceeded to ask what brought 
Mr. de Lunatico to London; and, on hearing that it was to inquire 
into the habits and character of the people in general, he shook his 
head with a laugh, saying, " You will find us a sad mad race, 

" So I suppose," answered the chevalier drily. 

" Oh yes," continued the minister, " there is every sort of madness 
in England, which makes the English people the most easily governed 
upon the face of the earth by any man who knows how to turn their 
insanities to his own advantage." 

" Indeed!" said the chevalier. " I had heard that you found it rather 
more difficult to manage them, and were very likely soon to be driven 
from office." 

"jOh, dear no!" replied the minister; "we have a thousand shifts 

et untried ere it comes to that. The fact is, we have let agitation 

yet to a somewhat low pitch lately, which is a great error certainly ; 


for, as we live by exciting the passions of the people, we ought never 
to let them cool for a moment." 

" And, pray, how came you to commit this oversight?" asked the 

" Why," replied his companion, " the fact is, the people were 
starving, so some of ray poor foolish colleagues thought it necessary 
to let them have a little repose, with a view to the revival of trade ; 
for agitation, you know, is utterly destructive of commerce and 
national prosperity. But what signifies to us, my dear sir, com- 
merce, or national prosperity, or any thing else of that kind, so 
that we ourselves keep in, and exclude the other party ? That is 
the grand object of a statesman's laudable ambition. I say laudable 
advisedly ; for, although there be some fools who blame this pertina- 
cious adherence to place, and think that no man ought to sacrifice the 
great interests of the country for the purpose of maintaining himself 
in power, yet I am perfectly ready to show that he is not only justified 
in so doing, but most extremely praiseworthy also." 

" I do not see the process by which you could arrive at such a con- 
clusion," replied the chevalier. 

" The simplest in the world," answered the statesman. " I fully 
and firmly believe that the measures and the principles of myself and 
my friends are those which alone can insiu*e the maintenance and 
extension of political liberty in this coimtry. We look upon political 
liberty to be the great paramount object to be desired, and, conse- 
quently, it is perfectly right and expedient in us to maintain ourselves 
in power by any means, as the only possible way of carrying out those 
principles which we hold to be indispensable. It is for this cause that 
we liave sufiered ourselves to be driven one way by one body of 
men, another way by another — that we have purchased their support 
by conceding every thing that we once opposed as heinous and wrong, 
and that I am ready myself to-morrow, seeing that it is abso- 
lutely necessary to get up a new agitation, to array class against class, 
and put myself at the head of an onslaught upon one of the most 
influential and estimable bodies of the people, in order that, carried for- 
ward by the current, we may still ride on the top of the wave, even 
though we have no power of directing its coiu^se." 

"But do you not think," said the chevalier, "that such a step may 
produce revolution and anarchy, and give that faction which I find is 
called the Paperists — who are now considered little better than madmen 
— an opportunity of venting their fury upon all institutions whatsoever, 
and overturning all things ?" 

" Oh, I don't know," replied the minister; "it may come to that at 
last : but, if it does, we will throw the blame upon our opponents, and 
say that it was their resistance of all rational reform, their adherence 
to monopoly and class interest that did all the mischief." 

" But you yourselves will know better," said the chevalier. " You 
will be aware that it was for the sole purpose of keeping yourselves in 
power that you created an excitement and agitation which was to end 
in such desperate consequences." 

" Oh, dear no," replied the statesman ; " we shall Ijave np difficulty 

132 THE commissioner; OB, 

in persuading ourselves that we acted with the most disinterested and 
liberal views. I have written and spoken a thousand times against the 
very measures I am now about to propose; but I have now fully 
convinced myself that the time is come for adopting them ; besides, it 
will be a long time, in all probability, before the riot and anarchy you 
talk about takes place. Things will last our day, I don't doubt, and 
that is quite enough for us. Let us live our time, and apres nous, le 

*' May I ask," said the chevalier, " if it be not an impertinent ques- 
tion, whether you have any qualms of conscience, or any misgivings in 
regard to the perfect sapience of your schemes and purposes ?" 

" Qualms of conscience !" exclaimed the minister. " Oh no ! Such a 
thing as that is quite out of the question. He is but a chicken states- 
man who can experience such foolish things as qualms of conscience. 
If a piece of business goes wrong — if two or three thousand farmers 
are ruined — if a score or two of merchants break — if an army is swept 
away by pestilence or the sword — if a set of misguided men choose to 
take up something which I have said in a speech, break out into insur- 
rection, and get themselves shot — if a town is half burnt down by the 
mob, following out the doctrine of agitation a little farther than is 
expedient, what is that to me ? I have nothing to do with it : I did 
the best I could under circumstances, and I don't care a straw for what 
comes after. As to entertaining any misgivings, that would be more 
foolish still. I am not a man, depend upon it, to have any doubt of my 
own capabilities. There is nothing I entertain any hesitation upon in 
the world. I am quite ready at any time to make up my mind 
on any subject under the sun. Give me half an hour, and I 
will draw up a bill for remodelling in toto the English constitu- 
tion — and no fear if I do so but that I shall find plenty of reasons 
wherewith to defend that bill in parliament, as well as plenty of 
people ready to support it. Nothing like a coup de maitre in such 
things : there is something bright and brilliant in acting boldly and 
without hesitation. Besides, our party have a great advantage in 
the com-se we are pursuing. As we always profess to be friends of 
progress, there is no reason why we should not condemn a measure 
most bitterly one year, and advocate it the next. We can always say 
that the time is come for granting what was before denied. Thus we 
have but one thing on earth to consider, and that is, whether the thing 
that is proposed is convenient to us. You will easily see that no great 
time is necessary to decide such a question as that." 
\ " Assuredly n©t," replied the chevalier ; " but let me ask, although 
you seem to consider your tenure of office as perfectly secure, what 
would you do, what plan would you follow, if your opponents were to 
be successful, and were to snatch from you the power which you have 
held so long ?" 

" I don't think they could hold it for six weeks," replied the minister. 
** In the first place, they would find the country plunged into such 
a sea of embarrassments, our foreign relations so entangled, our 
commerce so depressed, our public burdens so heavy, our revenue 
so deficient, our expenditure so increased, that it would be utterly 


impossible for them to keep the state going without offending some 
of the very classes by whom they are supported. For the last 
ten years we have been in a leaky boat in which we have made ten 
holes, while we have patched up one, and now the vessel is so nearly 
up to the gunnel that I defy any new men to keep her afloat. Besides, 
if we found we were going, we should of course contrive to increase 
the embarrassments for our successors ; so as to drive them into some 
odious measures at once. We would sweep up every crumb of pa- 
tronage, and even, if possible, forestal it ; and we would take care 
to go out upon some measure which would give us an opportu- 
nity of agitating the country from end to end. Thus we would 
secure unpopularity to our adversaries, popularity to ourselves, and 
the means of always saying, < You see, you have been able to do 
nothing more than we did.' " 

" Place and power must certainly be very delightful," said the 

The minister paused doubtfully, murmuring at length, " I suppose 
they are ; and yet the labour, and the trouble, and the ceaseless petty 
annoyances, the continual wretchedness of an office by day, and the 
wordy warfare of a house of parliament by night, are not things which 
are very much to be desired, especially when the salary is but a mere 
trifle, not half so much in fact as every doctor and every lawyer makes 
without half the trouble and annoyance: but then again, my dear 
chevalier, there is the gratification of the two strongest principles in 
our nature — pride and vanity. To be the great man, to bestow little 
favours on those who support us, to browbeat or treat with cold con- 
tempt the vast multitude of those we love not, to be looked up to with 
fear and trembling by thousands of hungry expectants, to have an 
opportunity of mortifying the vanity of multitudes of our dear friends 

O yes, believe me, there is a charm about power which makes it 

well worth possessing. But now, my dear chevalier, I must leave you, 
for it is time I should go to my office. When will you dine with 
me ? You are a very clever man I see, and I am quite sure a liberal 
at your heart. Is it not so ?" 

" Oh, we are all liberal in my country," replied the chevalier. " It 
is the native land of liberalism, and we give ready welcome amongst 
us to all those men who think that people who can neither read nor 
write, nor compound a common sentence in their mother tongue, are 
fit to select legislators. A number of other classes not quite so 
decided in their views, are also popular amongst us when they are 
sincere ; but I fear you gentlemen who only use liberalism as a means 
to an end would not be treated with the same civility." 

" Indeed 1" said the statesman. " Nevertheless, I should like to 
talk the subject over more fully, if you will give me an opportunity. 
When can you dine with me ? To-morrow is a cabinet dinner day, 
so we cannot admit you ; but the day after, if you are disengaged, at 
a quarter before eight." 

" I will not fail," replied the chevalier ; and taking the hint to 
depart, he bowed and left the statesman to proceed upon his avoca- 

134 THE commissioner; ok, 





On returning from the house of the minister to the Golden Cross, Char- 
ing Cross, the chevalier found his young companion, Worrel, precisely 
where he had left him, with his head leaning on his hand, and his eyes 
fixed upon the table, tearless, but full of sorrow. 

" My dear young friend," said the chevalier, in a kindly and feeling 
tone, " I grieve with you and for you ; but, indeed, you must not in- 
dulge in this sadness — for a time you cannot be expected to do other- 
wise ; but if it goes on in this manner, rather increasing than 
diminishing, I shall be obliged, against my will, to give you a billet 
for the moon 1" 

Worrel smiled faintly. 

"I shall be very much obliged to you," said he; ''for in another 
sphere I might, perhaps, learn to forget." 

" Oh, no," answered the chevalier, " such is not the case. Life is 
remembrance ! Did we forget in another world that which we have 
known in this, we might as well, to all intents and pm^poses, be dif- 
ferent beings. But what I mean to say is, simply, that grief, when 
long indulged and pampered, is lunacy. When at the end of your life 
— where you may hope to meet her you love again — if you look back 
to this moment, the intervening space which now seems so long, will 
dwindle to a point, and you will find how foolish it was to repine at 
such a short period of separation." 

Worrel shook his head ; for the moony consolations of the cheva- 
lier had as little effect upon him as those of this earth in general. 
He resolved, however, to make an effort, and rising from the table, 
he said — 

" Well, I will do my best to occupy my mind. I will go out with 
you, if you like, to the office of the Pansophisticon, and see Mr. 

*' He seems a very good-humoured, stupid sort of person," said the 

"^ " Stupid enough," replied Worrel, " but good-humoured he is not ; 
for in thai fat carcase lies as much malice as would furnish forth forty 
reviewers ; ht has not wit enough to wield it himself, but he finds plenty 
to help him ; and, most likely, just at this hour, there will be a little 
knot of them gathered together who may afford you some amusement." 
According to the elegant expression of one of our fine wits, the 
chevalier; as our readers know, was " up to any thing from pitch- 


and-toss to manslaughter ;" and in five minutes he and Worrel were at 
the door of what was called the office of the Pansophisticon. 

They were admitted tO a small parlour behind the office, where they 
found, seated in the chair of state, and with his hat on, Mr. Lillywhite 
himself; while round about the table were grouped a party of gentlemen, 
with keen and hungry faces, all looking very eager and impatient of in- 
terruption. Mr. Lillywhite himself, however, received them cordially, 
and then proceeded to introduce to the chevalier a rather smart-looking 
personage, with a shrill, shrivelled voice, called Mr. Spratt; a thin, 
squeaking, wizened, white-faced, black-coated, white neck-clothed 
spectre, as the Rev. Mr. Grumbledyke; a short-set, pale, stoutish, 
man, in a bright blue satin stock, with a world of fun in his clear 
grey eyes, as Dr. O'Keen ; and a heavy-looking morose personage, with 
an indescribable expression of unprincipled cunning, and self-conceit, 
as the celebrated Mr. Darkness. Now, it so happened, that neither 
the chevalier nor Harry Worrel were at all aware of why Mr. Dark- 
ness was celebrated, in which case might be found nine hundred and 
ninety-nine men out of a thousand, throughout all Europe. But 
Mr. Darkness happened to be the great man for the movement of the 
Pansophisticon. He transfused, with w^onderful facility, the same low 
unprincipled cunning and self-satisfaction that shone upon his counte- 
nance, to the pages of the journal ; he conferred upon it that air of 
saucy, tranchant confidence of its own opinions which is so excessively 
useful to a review, and which was so highly admired by Mr. Lillywhite 
himself; and, therefore, it was, that the worthy proprietor and editor 
always called him the celebrated Darkness. 

All the other gentlemen received the visitors with politeness, at 
least, and with the air of wishing to be civil ; but Darkness viewed 
them with supercilious contempt, and resisted, as far as he could, 
the influence of the chevalier's peculiar powers. It is true, he could 
not resist very long, but he began by cutting the compliments of Mr. 
Lillywhite short, saying — 

" Come, come, Lillywhite, let us proceed with business. This 
insolence must be chastised — his book must be damned, double damned, 
if possible. We must cut it up, root and branch." 

" Certainly, certainly," said Lillywhite. " The idea of his impugning 
the judgment of the Pansophisticon " 

" Some very bad book, indeed, I suppose," said the chevalier, in a 
low tone, addressing Dr. O'Keen, who sat beside him. " Something 
very immoral and horrible, doubtless." 

" Faith, not at all," said the doctor, with a sweet touch of brogue on 
the tip of his tongue; " it's as good a book, and as clever a book, and 
as pleasant a book as ever was written ; but you see it must be 
damned — more's the pity !" 

*' And, pray, why must it be damned ?" demanded the chevalier. 
" It appears that Mr. Darkness and Mr. Lillywhite entertain a very 
different opinion of its merits." 

" Oh, no ! not at all," replied Doctor O'Keen ; " they think just 
the same as I do, iii their hearts. Darkness does not very well know 

136 THE commissioner; or, 

what's good and what's bad; but, impudent blockhead as he is, he 
is well enough aware that all he has been saying about this book is 
false. Lilly white will explain all, if you ask him." 

The chevalier thereupon ventured to interrupt the conversation 
that was going on between the editor and Mr. Darkness. Putting a 
question to the former as to his reasons for so potently condemning 
this said book. 

" Why, you see, sir," said Mr. Lillywhite, " this is a man that 
affects to hold his head high, and not to court the reviewers. He pre- 
tended when the Pansophisticon was struggling to destroy a con- 
temporary journal — he pretended, I say, that he would neither seek its 
praise nor blame ; but now that we have got the upper hand, and have 
our sow (the public) by the ear, we are determined to show him what 
we can do. So when this book came out — after he had spent three or 
four years in composing it — I first read it myself, and as it was so 
very good I dared not put it into any inferior hands, for fear they 
should not be able to damn it heartily ; but I gave it to Darkness, who, 
I know, is as skilful in finding a flaw as a lawyer, and in making one 
where there is none as a plumber. We'll smash him; won't we, 
Darkness? we'll smash him for the honour of the Pansophisticon." 

" Ay, that we will," said Darkness, rubbing his hands. " I 
will cut him to atoms. I will get up all the histories of the times, 
and see if I don't pick a hole in his coat somewhere." 

" But," said the chevalier, putting his hand into his breeches pocket, 
and pulling out one of the little cards of admission to the moon, with 
w^hich he had now supplied himself from his portmanteau : " but one 
thing is very clear to me, Mr. Lillywhite, and you must not be 
offended at my saying so. It is self evident that you must very soon 
ruin your paper altogether, if you employ writers to condemn that 
which both they and you know to be good. The public must sooner 
or later discover that such is the case, that what you praise is bad, 
that what you blame is excellent, and that personal favour or dislike 
is the due basis of your judgment. They will soon find this out, I 
say, and, having found it out, will give you up and read a paper better 
worthy of confidence. The act, my dear sir, is one of insanity, and 
therefore you must excuse my begging yom' acceptance^, of this ticket 
for the moon, where you will meet with a hearty welcome any time 
ere six months be over." 

Mr. Lillywhite opened his eyes till they looked like oysters ; and 
Mr. Darkness exclaimed — 

" Hallo ! what's this ? The foolish fellow will be giving me one next." 

" No, sir," replied the chevalier; "there lies a considerable difference 
hid under those two monosyllables, mad and had. You gratify your 
malice without running any risk, without injuring your reputation, or 
your purse, or aught else; but our worthy friend here risks his 
property, by sacrificing the good opinion of all honest and intel- 
ligent men. So depend upon it he requires to be removed to another 

" Fiddle, faddle," replied Mr. Darkness. " Honest and intelligent 


men forsooth ! Who ever thinks of writing for honest and intelligent 
men? Why there's not enough of them in all England to pay for 
the paper and print. Every man likes to hear his neigh])our abused, 
right or wrong. Satire, slander, abuse, these are the things that sell. 
What signifies to nine hundred and ninety-nine men out of a thousand 
whether they have a just opinion of a book or not, so long as they are 
made to laugh, or are amused or pleased in any way by the review 
they read. Truth ! who cares any thing for the truth but the Duke 
of Wellington ? Come, come, take back your ticket, old gentleman : 
we can't spare Eillywhite ; he feeds us all capitally." 

"I am sorry," replied the chevalier ; "but as your only argument 
is, that all the rest of the world are as mad as he, I am afraid that 
will make no difference in my opinion. Good day, gentlemen : good day 
Signor Lilly white ; you and I will meet again, at all events — in the 

" The vagabond ! throw an inkstand at Ids head," cried Darkness. 
" Knack heem down !" said Spratt. 

" Phoo ! don't make a row," cried Dr. O'Keen, who was the only 
man at all likely to have recourse to manual operations in case of 
real offence ; and the chevalier left the room, in company with his 

" Pray," demanded Mr. de Lunatico, as he issued forth into the 
street, "are all your reviewers and editors of reviews of the same 
stamp ? If they be, I shall have to distribute a good many tickets 
I think." 

" Oh, no," answered Worrel ; " very far from it. There is a clique 
of low, \n^ilgar, ignorant men, who make their bread in this way, 
feeding the worst portion of the public with abuse of every thing but 
that which is written by themselves or their friends ; and as they have 
some half-dozen papers amongst them they have a considerable effect, 
not in purifying literature and elevating its tone, but in degrading and 
depressing it. But there are, on the contrary, a number of gentlemen 
of high feeling, strong talent, and profound learning engaged in the 
various branches of criticism, whose writings — weekly, monthly, and 
quarterly — tend greatly to afford an antidote to the other, poisonous 
stream that is constantly pouring forth upon the public. It is not 
possible to suppose, of course, that these gentlemen will not like the 
book of a friend better than that of an enemy ; but making allowances 
for human frailty, they judge upon the' whole justly. But as you have 
now been to one of our literary courts,^will you accompany me to one 
of our police tribunals ? There is one at no very great distance, and 
you have a hackney coach at the door." 

The chevalier willingly assented ; but when Joey Pike, who had 

accompanied the vehicle, was told to order it to , the poor youth 

looked so picturesquely miserable, that the chevalier comprehended 
at once the apprehensions which took possession of him, and gave him 
leave to return home while he and Worrel proceeded on their way. 

The sitting magistrate received the two gentlemen with instan- 
taneous urbanity, ^ The moment his eye lighted upon the cheva- 

138 THE commissioner; or, 

lier his heart expanded towards him, and he requested that he 
and his young friend would come up and take tlieir seats beside 
him. It was his custom, he said, with all distinguished foreigners. 
He then, though struggling with an anxious desire to communicate 
every thing in a breath to his fascinating acquaintance, proceeded to 
inquire into the case of a young gentleman who was brought be- 
fore him, fashionably attired, and bearing upon his face an air of 
swaggering insolence, as well as a pair of neat black mustachoes, 
with a pair of brass spurs to correspond upon his heels. The 
charge against him was, that he had been found drunk in the 
street very late on the preceding night ; that he had assaulted and 
grievously insulted a respectable tradesman's wife, and afterwards 
knocked down more than one policeman who attempted to capture him. 
He seemed somewhat anxious at the present moment to conceal his 
name, though he treated the whole case with great .haughtiness. The 
poor woman who had been ill used, said she did not wi'sh to urge 
any thing harsh against his lordship, and the culprit's name being sent 
up privately to the magistrate, instantly produced a great change on 
his worship's countenance. The chevalier expected to hear some very 
severe and terrible award, and whispered to Worrel — 

" Of course he will make the punishment proportionate to the 
education, rank, and circumstances of the criminal ; for that which is 
pardonable in the ignorant, the poor, and those who have neither rank 
nor a] respectable station in society, becomes a heinous offence in the 
well-educated, untempted man of rank and fortune, who has every in- 
ducement to do right and to avoid evil." 

But the magistrate merely said, that as the complainant did not wish 
to press the case, he should fine the prisoner five shillings for being 
drunk, and discharge him. No surprise was expressed in court at this 
decision ; and some persons, indeed, seemed to think the magistrate a 
very severe and Aristides-like sort of gentleman, for laying a tax upon 
the drunkenness of aristocracy. 

" Does this happen always ?" asked the chevalier, in a low voice, of 
Harry Worrel. 

"No, no," replied his companion, "it was once universal; and a 
gentleman, notwithstanding the assumed equality of all men in the eye 
of the law, might commit every sort of brutality unpunished, except by 
some trifling fine for which he cared not at all. Several of our magis- 
trates, however, are now broaching the curious opinion, that the station 
aggravates the offence." 

The attention of the chevalier was at that instant called away to two 
little urchins of nine and ten years old, who were placed before the magis- 
trate charged with stealing a piece of cheese out of the open window of 
a cheesemonger. The theft was clearly proved, but a wretched-looking 
woman their mother, pale, sallow, and half-starved, stood wringing her 
hands beside her children, and declared that she had told them to do it. 

" Well, then, woman, I shall commit you, too," said the magistrate 
sharply. " What made you tell your children to thieve ?* 
J' Want," replied the woman simply. 


" Want !" exclaimed the magistrate. "No excuse at all! no excuse 
at all!" 

" They must either thieve or starve," said the woman. ** They had 
nothing to eat : how could I see them die ?'* 

" Then, the best place for you all is the treadmill," said the magis- 
trate ; " there you wiU work and feed too. I shall commit you every 

Hereupon the cheesemonger interposed, saying, that he would rather 
give the poor people another piece of cheese, than see them sent to the 
treadmill. But Aristides would not hear of such a thing, and the chil- 
dren and their mother were committed. 

"I think he must have a billet," said the chevalier to himself; "though 
if we get him in the moon, we must take care not to put him on the 

A temporary interruption to the business of the court now took place, 
no one being brought before the magistrate for the space of about ten 
minutes, and his worship turned round to fill up the time by chatting 
with the chevalier and his companion. 

" Have you heard the curious story,'' he said, " of the inquest at 
Outrun Castle?' 

Harry Worrell pricked up his ears, and looked somewhat too con- 
scious for a police court ; but the chevalier with liis imperturbable compo- 
sure, merely replied that he had not seen the newspaper that morning ; 
upon which the magistrate detailed to him the particulars, which the 
reader already knows, and, after laughing at the verdict, added, " The 
funniest particular of the whole business is, that one of the jury de- 
clared afterwards to several people that he heard the corpse chuckle. 
What he means I cannot tell, but I give you his own words, * he heard 
the corpse chuckle.' '' 

The chevalier laid his finger by the side of his long nose. It was a 
nose that had been given to him by nature for that express purpose, 
and whenever he did so, it brought an indescribable look of cunning, 
or rather I should say, shrewdness into his countenance. 

" What's the matter ?" said the magistrate. 

« What's the matter ?' said Worrell. 

" Nothing at all," answered the chevalier ; " only I have my sus- 
picions, your worship, which it may be necessary to communicate im- 
mediately in the right quarter. I will therefore take my leave, and 
allow me to say, that I shall be very happy to see you in my country." 

The chevalier presented his small billet and took his leave. The 
magistrate bowed, holding the ticket between his fingers, and thinking 
it the chevalier's card. The moment, however, the chevalier was out 
of court, his worship looked at what he held in his hand, and rage and 
fury took possession of him. " Run after them, catch them, seize them," 
he cried. " I'll commit them for contempt, I'll imprison them, I'll send 

them to the treadmill, — I'll I'll ^" But it was in vain that he 

threatened ; the chevalier and Worrell were in the hackney coach, the 
hackney coach had rolled away, the officers only thought that some 
hoax had been put upon the magistrate, and made no haste to catch the 
fugitives J and thus ended the visit to the police office* 

140 THE commissioner; or, 






The chevalier was as still and as solemn as a discharged musket during 
the whole time he was in the coach, from the windows of which, just as 
it rolled up to the Golden Cross, they beheld Joey Pike tripping grace- 
fully in. He was standing cap-in-hand at the foot of the stairs to re- 
ceive them, and at a mysterious sign from the chevalier, he followed 
them up into the sitting-room, where, to the surprise of both, Mr. de 
Lunatico grasped the wrist of each of his companions, and in awful 
and subdued voice, repeated twice, while he looked from the one to the 
other, " He is alive ! " 

" Qui vive ? " exclaimed Joey Pike. 

" Whom do you mean ?" asked Worrel. 

" The Honourable Henry Frederick Augustus Fitzurse," replied the 

" Why, one thing is very certain," replied Worrel — " that if I shot 
him I did not intend it, for I fired, as I thought, a couple of yards to 
the right." 

" He is alive !" repeated the chevalier ; " and this is the way it has 
all happened, depend upon it. He fainted dead away with fright — cut 
his forehead on a stone, (I thought it did not look like a pistol wound,) 
and they wishing to get you out of the way, Worrel, on poor Laura's ac- 
count, or to tease you out of malice, have concealed the facts of his 
being yet alive. 1 declare if I were not engaged to dine with the 
secretary of state, -I would go down this very day " 

" E troppo tardo I " cried Joey Pike. 

" Or to-morrow," continued the chevalier, " and secretly investigate 
the matter to the bottom. Cannot you go, Worrell ? " 

Harry shook his head. " I shall never see the place again 
without pain," he said, " and although it certainly will be a relief to 
my mind to think that the poor fellow is not shot, yet really I cannot 
undertake to go there yet." 

Joey Pike fell upon one knee, stretched forth his left hand, laid his 
right upon his heart, and bent his head before the chevalier. 

" Let me undertake it," he cried in a sepulchral tone, as if he were 
Ion going to devote himself to death for the sake of his country. " Let 
me undertake it. This very morning, nay, within this very hour, I 
have arranged a plan for returning with the hienviellance of your eccel- 
lenza, to watch the proceedings that are taking place in toutes nos 
affaires. Have I your consentimiento F" 

" I must hear, my good Joey," said the chevalier, " what is the plan 
you intend to pursue ; for from what you told me a little while ago, I 
suppose there is a warrant out against you." 


//7^^/ ,^^^^^,^^^^^2^^^.^ ^^^.^^l^^^^U-^^^:^.-2^ 


" Sir," said Joey rising from his knee, " after I quitted you, but now, 
a certain tendresse led me to the Chien Noir in Fetter-lane, where in 
conversation with the sweet Elise de Tuppins, the only one in my con- 
fidence besides yourself, we formed a plan for my return to our native 
village in order to put the police of the place under my surveillance^ 
she having my most positive assurance, that through yoiu* means I caii 
prove my innocence." 

" But how, but how ?" said the chevalier. " How can you watch the 
police without the police catching you ? It seems to me like the mice 
hunting the cat." 

" Thus, sir," said Joey, taking his countenance between his middle fin- 
ger and his thumb, and smoothing it gently down till the two digits met 
at the tip of his chin, " you see 1 am smooth and feminine of face, in 
voice sweet, and in movement graceful. Ma belle Elise has promised 
me a supply of her apparel, and letters to all her relations as her dearest 
friend in town. Mademoiselle Brochet, the Countess of Ramscatskin's 
lady's maid. For flowing curls, what have I to do but visit the Strand? 
for hips and haunches, I will go to Vigo-lane. My waist is naturally 
small, my hand delicate, my foot gentil. What woidd you more ? I 
feel assured I can enact Mademoiselle Brochet to the life." 

" No bad plan," said the chevalier, " indeed ; but we must set about 
the business quickly, Joey. The coach, I think, leaves early in the 
morning. Go to your fair lady, get yourself well dressed, and return 
hither. We will take a room for you as Mademoiselle Brochet, and a 
place for you in the coach to-morrow under the same name." 

" Pardon my indiscretion, excellenza," said Joey Pike ; " but ere I 
can put this in execution I must have gold — gold that unlocks the hearts 
of all men must now fiu-nish locks to my countenance — gold must now 
give me, too, a tourneur : without gold one cannot purchase ladies* 
shoes, and I fear the pied mignon of my fair Elise, is somewhat 
smaller than my own." 

The chevalier, as the reader knows, was liberality itself, and forth 
came his purse in an instant, from which a liberal supply was poured 
into Joey's hand. 

" A thousand ringraziamentos /" said Joey ; and after receiving 
some farther directions from the chevalier, he issued forth to seek the 
fair Elise. 

The landlady of the Black Dog was so far let into the secret as to 
know that a masquerade was intended, and as she had been long ac- 
quainted with Joey, and knew him to be an honest harmless personage, 
she followed the principle of the apostle in thinking no evil, and aided 
the barmaid right willingly to dress him up. To his own little room, 
which he had inhabited before the arrival of the chevalier in town, 
Joey carried up an immense mass of female apparel, together with the 
wig and the bustle he had bought. It was agreed that as soon as he 
had got on a decent petticoat he should give a signal and receive 
assistance, and accordingly at the first sign in rushed the landlady and 
Miss Tuppins. 

They found him standing before the glass in a flannel petticoat 
which came but little below the knee, looking ineffable things at him- 


self in the mirror ; and seizing upon him with remorseless hands they 
thrust him into a pair of stays, and began to lace him with a degree of 
vehemence and unction that had nearly cut him in two. 

" Pitie, pitiS,'' cried Joey ; " I cannot breathe. Remember, belle 
Elise, that my taille is not so slender as yours !" 

Elise gave him a box on the ear, and away they laced till Joey 
Pike felt very much as a roasted pig must do when its skin is first 
changed into crackling. 

" Stay, stay !" he cried ; " let me see if I can move ;" and he 
attempted to put himself into the attitude of the Venus de Medici. 
It was not without an explosion, however, for one of the laces snapped 
suddenly behind, and at the same time there was a loud crack in front. 

" My best busk !" cried Miss Tuppins. " You clumsy creatm'e, you 
have broke it through the middle !" 

" Clumsy !" cried Joey ; " Oh, Dio /" 

The ladies, however, were convinced by this experiment that they 
ould never make Joey Pike a straight-laced young lady, and they 
accordingly slackened the girths till he could move more at ease. 
Then came the letting out of petticoats and gowns, the putting on of 
sandalled shoes, the adjusting of the false hair, and the little no- 
crowned cap, while ever and anon between each of the various acts 
the wonder and admiration of the fair ladies grew to see what a pretty 
simpering girl could be constructed even out of such materials as 
Joey Pike afforded. He himself was in ecstasies and when at length 
he beheld himself in the glass, crowned with a smart second-hand 
French bonnet, he burst forth into a fit of antics that made his fair 
Elise half angry, and nearly killed the good-humoured landlady with 
laughing. He skipped, he danced, he pirouetted, he talked French, 
he was Taglioni at one moment, a professor de langues the next, he 
took a chaste salute of the two ladies, he made them low and reverend 
court'seys, he did every thing in short that might be expected from Joey 
Pike under such circumstances, and seemed, to say tlie truth, to feel 
himself as much at home in his new apparel as his old. It was by this 
time growing dark, and away he went up the Strand, after taking a 
tender leave of his inamorata who gratified him with an embrace 
in his female capacity, for which perhaps neither party was 
sorry to find an excuse. Away he went, I say, up the Strand, with a 
gingerly pace, and a boy behind him carrying a large bandbox full of 
borrowed plumes, similar to those with which he was already decorated. 
Joey had no difficulty in mincing his steps, pointing his toes, and 
wriggling along with steps like demisemiquavers after the fashion of 
a little Parisian of the second class, and it must be said that his 
air was very doubtful and not particularly virtuous. Under these cir- 
cumstances a gentleman passing along ventured to take Joey by the 
hand, and called him a devilish fine girl ; but our friend snatched his 
offended fist away, exclaiming with a strong foreign accent, " Don't, 
sair ! impertinence /" 

Nor was this the only notice he attracted, but with an air of indig- 
nant modesty he kept all his extempore lovers at arm's length, and 
reaching the Golden Cross, Charing-cross, in safety, he asked if the 

'C^eJ ^yfZ^izZi> a^iT^^/myy^ii^ey J^fez^^^^i?^ 



Chevalier de Lunatico and i\Ir. Henry Worrel lodged there. An 
answer in the affirmative was immediately given, followed by an in- 
quiry whether he were Mademoiselle Brochet, for whom a room had 
been engaged. Joey replied that he was " De same," and was imme- 
diately ushered into the presence of the chevalier and his friend, who 
could scarcely restrain their laughter even in the presence of the waiter. 

To say truth, had they not been made aware beforehand of the 
transformation that was about to take place, neither of them would 
have recollected the smart youth of the Half Moon, so completely 
was he changed in appearance, manner, and voice. Not even to 
them, however, did Joey for a moment put off the character of 
Mademoiselle Brochet, but kept it up admirably till he took his leave 
and retired to rest, that he might be able to go by that " Shokang 
Diligence which go so early le mating 

In his own room Joey was somewhat puzzled. All his upper 
garments he knew he could manage well enough, but his stays 
he knew were neither so easily got rid of, nor so easily put on 
again. He therefore determined to go to bed in them, and a terrible 
night he had of it. Sleep, he certainly did ; but Joey's imagination 
was not one to do without dreaming, and he very soon fancied himself 
in the village of Outrun, with the beadle of the parish taking him up 
as an abandoned woman. He was carried before a magistrate and 
ordered to be put in the stocks, but the beadle finding his foot was so 
small that he could not keep it in, bethought himself of a new con- 
trivance and fastened him in by the middle. The operation was so 
unpleasant that Joey roared lustily, and in five minutes he was 
awakened by half-a-dozen people knocking at his door and asking 
what was the matter. 

Joey's first exclamation to himself was " Ji? rSvois !" and following up 
the train which he knew was a good one, he shouted aloud in answer 
to the tender inquiries of those without — " Je revois ! Je revois /" 

" Raved I " cried a bluff voice on the other side of the door, 
" Raved ! Ay, I suppose you did ; but if you want to rave, you 
should go to a mad-house." 

" I was a dreaming !" cried Joey ; " I was a dreaming very hard !" 

" Ah, those d n French people," said the same voice grumbling 

as it went away ; " they're always a dreaming. They were a dreaming 
once they would have it all their own way ; and after that they were a 
dreaming that they'd have Spain, and then they'd have Russia, and 
then that they'd lick England at Waterloo ; but it all turned out a 
dream, and a d n unpleasant one too, I should think." 

Joey did not stay to attend very particularly to what was said, but 
conscious of the necessity of sleep, turned himself round upon his 
side, and was soon once more buried in the arms of Somnus. This 
time he had better success than before, for he went on without any 
troublous dreams till the dawn of morning. He was then roused, just 
having an hour to hurry on his things, and had luckily time enough to 
accomplish the long subject of his dressing, and to take some breakfast 
before he was summoned to the stage-coach. A tender and affectionate 
leave of him was taken by the chevalier and Harry Worrel, and having 


the M'hole of the inside to himself, he had an opportunity of considering 
his whole plan beforehand. The thing that troubled him most of all, in- 
deed, was his stays ; and he saw that he should never be able to get them 
on without some female help, and he gallantly determined, like many ano- 
ther wandering hero, to cast himself upon the benevolence of a woman. 

To pursue our tale, however, without pursuing his thoughts or his 
journey either, let us say, that after rolling on for many a live long hour, 
the coach stopped opposite the Half Moon in the village of Outrun, 
and punctual to the tick of the clock, there was the fair, and blooming 
Mrs. Muggins at the door of her auberge with a neat barmaid and a 
respectable-looking hostler. Joey gazed upon them all, and putting 
himself into the place of one of the travellers accustomed to journey 
up and down that road, mentally exclaimed — if such a thing be 
possible — " There they are all — fair Muggins, sweet Sally, and Bill the 
hostler. But where is Joey Pike?" 

" I go down here, sair," said Joey to the coachman; and descending 
from the carriage he made a low court'sey to Mrs. Muggins, saying — 

" Good evening, mad — dame. Give me down my carton What I 

pay you, sair ?" 

The coachman named his fare, and the lady paid him liberally out of 
a well-appointed green silk purse, the sight of which greatly enhanced 
the respect of Mrs. Muggins. 

" This way, ma'am,'' she said, " this way. Show a light, Sally. Bill, 
carry up the lady's band-box. No. 2, is nice and all ready. Pleasant 
day for travelling, ma'am." 

As soon as they entered the room she named, the landlady asked 
what her guest would take. The maid waited to see what would come 
of it, and the ostler halted at the door. 

" Can it be possible," said the assumed lady, addressing Mrs. Mug- 
gins, " that I may speak a w^ord with you ?" 

" Certainly, ma'am," replied the landlady, dropping a court'sey. 
*' Bill, we don't want you. Sally, go and put sheets to the fire." 

Her orders were instantly obeyed, upon which, and the door being 
closed. Mademoiselle Brochet tripped lightly up to the hostess of the 
Half-Moon, took her two hands in hers, and, bringing her mouth as close 
as the cap would let her to Mrs. Muggins's ear, exclaimed, "I am 
Joey Pike." 

The hostess of the Half-Moon started back in the very act of uttering 
a long scream, so completely was she taken by surprise, astonished and 
astounded, overcome and confounded ; but Joey, quick as thought 
divined her intention, clapped his hand upon her mouth and exclaimed, 
" If you speak I am lost ! " 

" Lost, you fool !" cried Mrs. Muggins ; " why, you are lost already ! 
Dont you know that there's a coroner's warrant out against you for the 
murder of old Scapulary ? Don't you know ." 

" I know it all," replied Joey. 

" Then what did you come here for ?" demanded Mrs. Muggins. 

" To watch the proceedings of all," said Joey. " To see what every 
one is about, and, a la fin, to give myself up for trial as soon as I know 
that I shall not be kept in prison first." 


" Oh, that makes a great difference," said Mrs. Muggins. " If you 
intend to give yourself up for trial, that proves that you are innocent." 

"And did you doubt my innocence, fair Muggins?" cried Joey; 
" O crudel sorty ! " 

" No, my poor boy," replied Mrs. INIuggins : " to say the truth, I did 
not, but I did doubt that you would be able to prove it, for Jones the 
milkman saw you coming out of old Scapulary's just at the moment that 
he must have been murdered, for Mrs. Scapulary, poor thing, only went 
away for a minute to get him something, leaving the poor old soul 
quite well, and when she came back he was brutally murdered." 

"Jones might see me," said Joey, "for I certainly ran against some- 
body as I came out ; but the chevalier and Mr. Worrel both can prove 
that I was with them at the duel. I only ran when the old lord cried 
out to take us up for shooting Mr. Fitzurse. I popped into old Scapu- 
lary's because he was a relation and a friend, thinking to find refuge ; 
but I found nothing, on the contrary, but a cadavre. The sight of 
him frightened me so, that I ran as hard as I could, and the turnpike 
man can prove at what hour I passed through the gate. It is only im- 
prisonment I fear, Mrs. Muggins. Would you have me lose my bright 
days in a prison ? " 

" No, no, Joey," answered Mrs. Muggins. " But what does your 
master say to all this ?" 

" Why, it is he himself that has sent me down," replied Joey, " fur- 
nished me with the denari, and applauded my enterprise. So here I 
stay till the assizes, giving notice to whom it may concern, that I am 
present though non-apparent, and will appear to take my trial, aujour 
et moment^ 

" Well," said the hostess of the Half-Moon, "if that be the case, Til 
do all I can to help you, Joey." 

" You can do nought to lielp me, fair Muggins," replied Joey, " but 
keep my secret and lace my stays." 

" Lace your stays ! Ha, ha, ha," cried Mrs. Muggins, " that's a 
good un. I'll have nothing to do with your stays, Joey." 

" Mrs. Muggins," said Joey in a solemn tone, " I am a decent young 
woman, and if you do not lace my stays 1 am lost." 

" Well, then, you must come down to the bar," said Mrs. Muggins, 
and after nearly as many preliminaries as were found requisite by 
Sterne and the lady in the black silk breeches case, a convention was 
agreed upon to enable Joey Pike to have his stays laced, and yet save 
the reputation of Mrs. Muggins. 

All this being settled to Joey's full satisfaction, he supped and went 
to bed, and the next day began his campaign as Mademoiselle Brochet, 
by delivering sundry billets from the fair Elise de Tuppins to her vari- 
ous acquaintances in the village of Outrun. 

Joey's reception was flattering in the extreme, and a series of small 
tea-parties was commenced in his honour, where he kept up his assumed 
character with the highest spirit, flirted, danced, languished, and never 
forgot for a moment to speak the most detestable English that ever 
was heard. 

c. — NO. V. 1. 






" What may be the first state of the spirit after death," — said Mr. 
Longshanks, addressing liimself to Mr. Loiigmore, with the widow, 
Nelly Bain, standing on his right hand. " What may be the first state 
of the spirit after death is difficult for pliilosophy to divine, and revela- 
tion has given us no information. There is not the slightest cause, how- 
ever, to doubt, that as far as the individual being itself is concerned, 
there is not the most minute pause between the conclusion of earthly 
sensation and spiritual sensation. The absence of recollection is death ; 
and a state of being unmarked by any feeling is, in fact, no state of 
being at all, as far as the creature itself is concerned. The interval, 
therefore, between the extinction of the life of this world and its re- 
newal in another, must but seem a single point to the spirit of man, 
even were he to remain for a thousand ages unawakened to his new 
existence. In that long sleep no chiming clocks could mark the time ; 
no griefs, no sorroAvs calendar the years ; no kindly affections write in 
white characters the record of our joys ; no hopes, either fulfilled or 
disappointed, mark the boundaries between day and day. The perfect 
sleep of undisturbed youth, when we close our eyes at night and open 
them in the morning, wondering that day has so soon come back, is 
the only image that we can have of death and resurrection ; even sup- 
posing, that in the interval the soul remains unconscious." 

Mr. Longmore sat with his eyes covered with his hands, and the 
tears bedev, ing them ; for the sermon of the surgeon had been called 
forth by the mention of sorrows but too i)resGnt to his own heart. 
The widow had listened with downcast eyes, though with much plea- 
sure, to the words of her good friend : she liked the subject that was 
somewhat painful to Mr. I.ongmore ; for all her hopes in this world 
were over, and her joys had been snatclied away one by one; so that 
she was pleased to hear something of the land to which those she 
loved had gone, and v, hither she Avas soon to follow. Mr. Longmore, on 
the contrary, had received the blow without any previous preparation. 
Laura hud not been to him his all in life ; and he would rather that 
she had stayed with him here, than gone on to receive him "at that 
bourne from which no travclhr returns." 

When the good surgeon paused, the widow raised her eyes for a 
moment, and then droi)ped a courtesy, saying, in a voice of some 
alarm — 

" It seems a long time, sir ! I ho})e we ishall not forget all about 
this world in that time." 

" Oh, no," answered the surgeon ; " as I said but now, forgetfulness 
is dea^h, and the faculties of the spirit suffer no decay ; it is thefacul- 


ties of the body that go one by one. No one can tell how it may be 
that all the actions of our lives, all that we have done or endured, will 
be recalled to us in our more perfect state. But we have sufficient 
indications even in this life, that such things may and can be. Let any 
one fix his mind for a moment upon some point in the times long past, 
some scenes that he wishes to recall, some faces that have grown dim 
in the mist of years ; his memory will fail him, it will all be obscure 
and dark ; confused images that will not arrange themselves in form ; 
vapours tinted with the sunshine, but rolling rapidly from shape to 
shape. Then let some word of those times be spoken, it matters not 
what ; let some song be sung that we have heard from lips long gone ; 
let some picture bring back the dwelling-place of our youth ; let some 
flower send us back the odour we have loved in other days, and in a 
moment a thousand things that we have forgotten for years, will rise 
up distinct and tangible before our eyes ; each vague image will take 
its sensible form again, and memory, which but slumbered, will awake 
to tell us all we wished, in tones definite and clear. Thus too, when 
we hear of the death of some distant friend — some one of whom our 
thoughts, perhaps, have proved treacherous, guarding but carelessly 
the treasure of his memory : we hear of his death, and then, oh ! with 
what painful reality all that we had forgot comes back — the smiles, 
the happy looks, the kindly acts, the gay companionships, the words, 
the very tones, that seemed blotted out from our recollection for ever. 
No, no. Widow Bain, it wants but the stroke upon the bell to call 
the whole household of the spirit together, and in another world that 
stroke will be given by an omnipotent hand, to which, in all times of 
sorrow we must bow botli with resignation and with confidence." 

The widow raised her eyes towards heaven, and thought of her son; 
and good Mr. Longshanks went on, knowing well that it is with 
difficulty that we realize to ourselves the idea of time being a 

" I do not mean to say," he continued, " by any means, that the 
spirit will, as it were, remain in abeyance till the last day : on the 
contrary, there are many reasons to be gathered, both from philosophy 
and revelation, for an opposite conclusion. We are told of two 
instances of translation from this world to another — we are told of spirits 
having risen — I speak always of revealed history — and there are many 
indications of actual and conscious existence in the spirits of the dead, 
in various parts of our SaA iour's teacliing. Besides that remarkable 
text in which, referring to Abraham, he showed that his Father is not 
God of the dead, but God of the living. Philosopliy too tells us, that 
such is likely to be the case ; though I do not mean to say, that such 
a thing as the appearance of spirits, except for especial purposes, and 
in interruption of the ordinary laws of nature " 

"It is impossible," said Mr. Longmore, looking up, "according to 
the science of catoptrics, that an unsubstantial body can reflect the 
rays of light in such a manner as to become represented upon the retina." 

" What is light its(»lf ?" demanded Mr. Longshanks, turning upon 
him sharply. " Who said that ghosts were unsubstantial ? who shall 
limit the tenuity of matter? Of all these things, sir, we know 


nothing. Religion tells us as much as it is necessary to know : religion 
tells us that spirits have appeared, and that's enough for you or me 

The good surgeon was beginning to wax warm ; and, in all proba- 
bility, ere many minutes had passed, he would have rapped out a 
heavy oath or two, but just at that moment the widow dropped one of 
her calm quiet courtesys, saying — 

" My poor William's spirit appeared four nights ago, sir !" 

" The devil, he did !" exclaimed Mr. Longshanks, who, as the 
reader may have perceived, was not always particularly reverent in his 
piety. " Nonsense, woman ! what do you mean ?" 

" Why, sir," she replied, " it's very true, I can assure you. Old 
Mrs. Maroon who was left to watch when they brought me here, came 
up to me yesterday, and told me how, the very first night she fell 
asleep for a minute or two, and waking up all aghast, she was just in 
time to see a tall figure, in white, walk out of the cottage, or rather 
disappear, for, it made no noise at all; so it must have been the poor 
dear boy ; and that's the reason I wish to get back again as soon as 
your honour thinks it proper." 

" Would you not be afraid ?" asked Mr. Longmore, with an inquir- 
ing look. 

*' What ! afraid to see William !" cried the woman, with a look of 
yearning sorrow. " Oh, sir ! sleeping or waking, living or dead, I 
would give my right hand to see my poor boy again." 

*' Oh, mother's love ! mother's love !" cried Mr. Longshanks. " Saw 
a tall white figure go out of the cottage !" and after pondering over 

the matter for several minutes, he added — " the d d old woman 

has been asleep and dreaming." 

" She owns that she was asleep, sir," said the widow ; " but she says 
that she had woke up quite, and saw the figure as clearly as if it had 
been full day. I should very much like to get back to the cottage, 

" Well, well," replied Mr. Longshanks, " you can get back this 
very night if you please — now the funeral is over. Tell the gardener 
to go up and help "you. I will come up myself in the evening and 
see how you are going on." 

Widow Bain dropped a courtesy and retired, leaving Mr. Longshanks 
and his companion to finish their philosophical dispute at their leisure. 
She herself, however, proceeded without loss of time to get the little 
packet ready, which contained all the goods and chattels that had been 
brought down for her use to Mr. Longmore's. The gardener willingly 
wheeled them up for her in his barrow, and the poor widow entered 
the scene of her early joy and her early love with feelings which the 
reader must conceive, for we will not dilate upon them ; suffice it, 
that although she was possessed with the spirit of calm endurance to as 
great an extent as perhaps any woman on the earth, she was quite over- 
come, as she gazed round the cottage and saw a thousand things which 
recalled to her memory some little trait of the early dead. The poor 
widow hid her face and wept. Just at that moment the old woman. Maroon, 
came in, and seeing the state of poor Widow Bain she volunteered to stay 


with her to keep her cheerful, as she called it. In the moment of depres- 
sion Mrs. Bain accepted the proposal, and the gardener, after having sat 
a while with them, left the two women together, arid returned home as 
night was approaching. To say the truth, Mrs. Maroon was not the 
most eligible person that the widow could have chosen for her com- 
panion. She was one of the solemn and awful people who think they 
show their sympathy best with any one in sorrow by talking of every 
thing that is melancholy, and taking the most gloomy picture of human 
nature. Thus she went on fidgetting about the cottage to make 
Widow Bain as comfortable as possible, talking of every misery that 
ever happened to any one on earth, and like the prophets of old fore- 
showing sorrows to come. The widow bore it all with exemplary 
fortitude ; wept a little from time to time, but still withdrawing her 
thoughts from this world, strove to look forward to a reunion with 
those she loved in a brighter and a better state. 

About a couple of hours after dark, however, Mrs. Maroon, who 
•was just passing the window, suddenly exclaimed, " Laus' a marcy ! 
There was a man looking in." 

" See what he wants," said Mrs. Bain, who was busy boiling some 
'water for tea. 

" Not I," answered Mrs. Maroon ; " I am afeard." 

Widow Bain, however, had now no fears left, and going to the 
door, she opened it suddenly when, to her surprise she beheld a man 
with his hands stretching up as if thrust under the thatch of the 
cottage. The moment he saw her he took to his heels and ran, and 
the widow shut the door again, saving, " I wonder what's the meaning 
of that?" 

" Who, was it, who was It ?" cried Mrs. Maroon. 

" I did not see his face," replied the widow, but he was a stout, 
thick-set man, like Smalldram the tinman." 

" I thought it was his face," said Mrs. Maroon, and almost as she 
spoke, some one knocked with a stick at the door, the latch was 
raised, and Mr. Longshanks entered. 

" Pray, sir," asked Mrs. Maroon, before she gave him time to 
speak, " did you meet any body as you came up ?" 

" Nobody but that poacher scoundrel, Smalldram," said the 
surgeon. " Has he been here, woman ?" 

" He's been looking in at the window," replied Mrs. Maroon. 

" And when I looked out he had his hand up to the thatch," said 
Widow Bain, " as if he was going to pull a handful of the straw 

" He's after no good, he's after no good," said Mr. Longshanks. 
*' Please God we shall all live to see him hanged I" and with the ex- 
pression of this charitable expectation the conversation dropped upon 
that point. 

150 THE commissioner; or, 









The body of poor Tobias Scapulary was laid in the familiar earth of 
the churchyard which he had so often tossed and tumbled about, and 
which now received him like an old acquaintance. The widow, dressed 
in becoming weeds, had spent the day in dignified seclusion, reckon- 
ing up upon a slate the various goods and chattels of wiiich she had 
jcome into possession by the decease of the said Tobias some four- 
and-twenty hours before that event would naturally have occurred. 
The day declined, and night sat down upon the village of Outrun, 
covering it all over with her black calimanco petticoat, and shutting 
out the eyes even of the stars from the ways of mortal man. 

Although she had abundance of topics of consolation Mrs. Scapu- 
lary was somewhat queasy about the stomacli. Imagination, that 
skittish jade, would play her tricks, even with Mrs. Scapulary, whom 
nature certainly never intended for an imaginative person. She cou\d 
not get out of her sight the form of old Tobias, as he lay kicking, 
with his mouth open, under the tender hands of herself and Mr. Small- 
dram, and although she shut her eyes more than once to get rid of 
the unpleasant image, it was there under the eyelids just as much as 
before. Under these circumstances she had recourse to employment, 
the very best source of relief under all circumstances of mental dis- 
quietude. She put the kettle on the fire, slie wiped and rubbed the 
table, she got a green glass bottle from the cupboard, she added a 
,tumbler and wine-glass, she sought for a tea-spoon, and brought out 
the sugar-basin, and then she sat down and meditated fondly while the 
kettle began first to hiss, and then to whistle, and then to sing, as it is 
called. Still Mrs. Scapulary was uneasy in her mind, and as she would 
not think of her dear departed Toby, she turned lier mind to Mr. 
Smalidram ; but there the contemplation was not pleasant either, as 
the reader will perceive when he hears, that the conclusion which she 
came to was " He's a great villain, that Smalidram, that's clear enough. 
What right had he to go a cleaning out of old Toby's breeches pockets ? 
There was a lot of money there, I know, and how can I tell how much? 
Hang me if I marry him. With vrhat I've got now it 'ill be easy enough 
to get many a respectable young man ; that it will and not such a seedy 
old scamp as that ! Hang me if I knew how, if I wouldn't put him in for 
the murder, instead of letting it rest upon a nice young man like Joey 
Pike. I wonder what he's done with the money now ? He's just the 


one to go and flash it before half a dozen people and get the whole 
matter blowed." 

Just as she was in tliis part of her meditations, and had mechanically 
compounded a glass of warm and consolatory fluid, the door opened 
quietly and in walked Mr. Smalldram himself. 

" Lord ! how you made me start/' cried the widow. " Why didn't 
you knock ?" 

" Lord bless'ee, my dear creetur," said Mr. Smalldram ; " I come in 
quite nateral like. You and I is upon them terms, as vaves all cere- 

Mrs. Scapulary would willingly enough have given her co-labourer 
a rebuff, but a certain sensation of being in his power overcame the 
proud conviction that he was in hers, and being a shrewd woman in 
her way, she saw that it would be necessary for her to arm and guard 
herself well in the first instance before she broke with Mr. Smalldram ; 
and therefore she resolved to be exceedingly civil to him till such time 
as she had related such suspicious circumstances to one or two indiffe- 
rent persons as might tell against Mr. Smalldram at a future period, 
if she found it necessary to charge him, and which might also tell in 
her favour if he were to reply with a tu quoque, and cliarge her in 

" Yes,'* she said to herself — " yes, I must prepare the way ; and if I 
can but get him to tell me what he has done with the money, I shall 
have a fast hold of him. I'll pretend I want him very much to marry 

The reader will see that Mrs. Scapulary was a shrewd woman, a 
very shrewd woman, indeed. Mr. Smalldram, though, according to his 
own expression, he knew a thing or two, was a sucking dove compared 
to her; and in pursuance of her plan, she now gave him an amiable 
nod, saying — 

" Well, well, sit down and take a glass of gin and water. It won't 
do you any harm, Tom, this dark night." 

*' No ; that it won't, my love," said Tom. " From all I hear, youVe 
made a good thing of it, my dear." 

" Tolerably well," replied Mrs. Scapulary. " Three thousand pounds 
in the funs, Tom ; two houses up the village, one of 'em furnished ; and 
this here house, or cottage, for one can't call this nasty place a house. 
I wonder the old brute could live here, Avhen he had such a nice 
pleasant place close at hand. Only he let that, you know. He was 
always so fond of money." 

• " Ay, blasted fond," said Mr. Smalldrum. " Give us the sugar — 
there's a sweet creetur — or put your finger in and stir it ; that will do 
as well." 

" For shame, you flattering thing," said Mrs. Smalldram. " I know 
what you want : you want me to name an early day ; but we must be 
decent, you know, my dear ; and besides, people might begin to talk 
and grow suspicious, if we married too soon." 

" Pooh ! nonsense!" answered Mr. Smalldram. " Why, all the world 
knows it was Joey Pike who did the trick : we'll get him hanged for it, 
and then that account will be closed." 


*' But"! am always so afraid of that money, and them papers that 
you took out of his pocket," said Mrs. Scapulary. " You are such a 
careless fellow, Tom, I'll bet you that you have left them now at your 

" Not I," answered Mr. Smalldram. 
' " Well, then," said the widow, " if you have got them with you, 
do give all the notes to me, and I'll give you gold and silver for 

" No bad thought, that," replied Mr. Smalldram ; " but the truth is, 
I haven't got them with me." 

" Then youVe spent them all," said Mrs. Scapulary, vehemently. 
" You've spent them all in such a short time, and the whole thing will 
be blowed." 

" Nonsense ! I haven't spent one of them. I have changed some of 
the gold, but not one of the flimsies, and I hid them and the rest away 
in a safe place, where no one can find them out." 

" Come, I shan't be satisfied till you tell me where that is," said 
Mrs. Scapulary. " I ain't going to be hanged, Tom, for none of your 
nonsense ; so I shan't be satisfied unless you tell me where they are." 

" Pooh ! You don't suppose I'd peach," replied her companion. "I'd 
die game, any how, my dear. If I must dance a jig upon nothing, I'll 
dance it alone." 

" Ay, but Tom," said Mrs. Scapulary, putting on one of her sweetest 
and most insinuating looks, " I don't want you to do that neither — that 
wouldn't answer my turn no how." 

" Nor mine, neither, my dear," said Mr. Smalldram. 

" Well, I shall never know a moment's happiness," rejoined the fair 
lady, in a touching tone, " till I know where them notes and papers 
are, or till you bring them to me and let me change them." 

" Well, my dear, I'll bring them to-morrow," said Mr. Smalldram ; 
"but to make your mind easy for the present, I'll tell you that they are 
under the thatch of Nelly Bain's cottage. I put them in there the night 
after ** 

But the worthy gentleman was stopped, ere he could conclude his 
speech, by a slight tap at the door, and then the latch being thrown up. 
Mrs. Scapulary looked somewhat surprised and scared ; but the next 
instant there entered, on the tips of her toes, a tall, pretty-looking, 
■well-dressed girl, with immense large houcles at the side of her face, a 
smart rose-coloured bonnet, and delicate French gloves. Advancing a 
step into the room, she dropped a low courtesy, then took two steps for- 
ward and dropped another ; and then, with the most insinuating smile 
possible, addressed Mrs. Scapulary — 

" A thousand pardongs, madame," she said ; " but I bring you this 
leetle billet from your acquaintance. Mademoiselle de Tuppins. Ne 
derangez pas, sair. Pray, don't let me disturb you." 

But Mr. Smalldram rose and scratched his head, and then, nodding 
to Mrs. Scapulary, said — " I'll come back another time : to-morrow 
night, perhaps." 

Having uttered which words, he took his departure, closing the door 
carefully behind him. The moment he was gone, Mademoiselle Brochet, 


for we need not tell the reader tliat such was the person now upon the 
scene, proceeded, with all tlie callous facility of a true Frenchwoman, to 
condole with Mrs. Scapulary upon her loss of the dear departed 

" I been very much shock, madame, very much shock, indeed, to hear 
that your hose-band have been murdered. How you do it since ? 

"How I do it!" almost shrieked Mrs. Scapulary. "Lord! miss, 
who said I did it ?" 

" No, no ; you mistake," said Mademoiselle Brochet ; " I say, how 
you do since it ?" 

" Oh, very well," cried Mrs. Scapulary, greatly relieved ; " I never 
was better in my life." 

" I always tought so," said IMademoiselle Brochet. 

" Thought what ?" demanded Mrs. ScajDulary, beginning to be 

" Vy, dat it must be extremely charmanty and make one woman 
very well, indeed, to get rid of one nasty old hose-band, and be a 
nice, pretty, young vidow," was the reply. 

The latter part of the speech sweetened the dose, and so Mrs. 
Scapulary swallowed it, answering with her eyes turned up — 

" Ah ! poor old man ! it was a great charity — that is to say, it was 
a great relief to himself to die." 

" Ah ! very great charity and relief too," said Mademoiselle 
Brochet, marking the good lady's words more than she thought ; 
" relief to him — charity to you. Now, do tell me how it was all 

" Arrangey !" cried Mrs. Scapulary, her doubts and apprehensions 
beginning to rise again. 

But Mademoiselle Brochet replied — 

" Dat is to say, how did it all happen ?" 

" Oh !" said Mrs. Scapulary, not at all unwilling to explain, and to 
make a person totally unconne*cted with the place the means of con- 
veying to the public the first hints which she thought fit to give, of 
any doubt in regard to Mr. Smalldram. " Oh, I'll tell you how it all 
happened. Pray, sit down, miss, and take a drop of something com- 
fortable — It is all I have got to offer you." 

" Oh, dear, no !" cried Mademoiselle Brochet, with a simpering 
look of reluctance, " I nevare take any speerits ; at all events, not 
more dan half-a-glass : but I want vary much to hear how dis ting 
bin done." 

The sexton's widow did not require much pressing, but went on to 

" As to the matter of that, I can't exactly tell how it was done, but 
I can tell you at what time it was done. You see the way of it was 
this — the old man had been very bad all night, and about fi\'e 
o'clock in the morning the poor old creature began to call out for some 
milk and water ; so I thought I could not do less than go and fetch 
him some ; and away I went, though I knew that it would be of little or 
no use ; so I put on my things and went away to one or two places 
without getting a drop — though just at the corner of the house there 


I met with ]Mr. Sinalldvain, and asked liini wliere he thought I could 
get some." 

" Meestaire Smalldram rise early in de moorning," said Miss Brochet. 

"Ay, that he does," answered the sexton's widow; "one must get 
up early to come over him. However, I met him, as I have said, and 
I did think it odd that he should be out hanging about at that hour, 
and asked him the question, and then went and tried at several places, 
and when I came back about half-an-hour after, I found the poor old 
man with his eyes all staring, and his tongue half bit through ! and I 
screamed out murder, as loud as I could, but he was quite dead ! and 
it was a long time before I could get any of the neighbom's to 
help me." 

" Oh ! dat vas so early," said Mademoiselle Brochet : " if you got 
back, mad-dame, in half-an-hour, dat could only be half past five- 
nobody up so early. But, perhaps, you not quite so early as dat — 
one often tell lie by mistake." 

" Oh, dear no," cried Mrs. Scapulary, who chose to be very accu- 
rate, " I wasn't five minutes past the half hour ; for I heard the clock 
strike when I was over against the other corner of the church there, 
and 1 had nothing to do but to walk liome and open the door." 

" Oh, vary well," said Mademoiselle Brochet, '' if dat vas de case 
it is all right." 

" Why, I've sworn to it before the magistrates," said Mrs. Scapularj'. 

" I am very glad to hear it, mad-dame," replied the young lady, 
rising and making a low courtesy ; " I hope it may do you a tres grand 
quantite of good, mad-dame. I vish you a sweet evening — vary moch 
oblige by your pleasant information" — and away sailed Mademoiselle 
Brochet out of the cottage, leaving Mrs. Scapulary in a flutter which 
she could not well account for. 






Laura Long more slept soundly and sweetly — rosy dreams fluttered 
around her pillow, and made the slumber that of soft repose, but not of 
annihilation. She was no longer a prisoner : she had the means of escape 
in her own hands, and the load that hung upon her mind during the 
whole of the preceding day was now happily removed, leaving her bosom 
to heave liglitly and her heart to beat free. Her last thoughts, as we 
have shown, had been fixed upon the words of the falling butler, and 
she had eagerly asked herself what those words could mean. Now, 


curiosity, as all the world knows, is a woman's virtue. We call it a 
virtue deliberately, and may, perhaps, prove it to be so under certain 
limitations, before we have done Mitli this extraordinary and most com- 
prehensive book, and Laura was not without her share thereof ; but 
besides this virtue she had in her disposition a good deal of another 
excellent quality, called fun ; and as our natural disposition, or tastes, 
habits, sentiments, and propensities, undoubtedly go on affecting us 
diu-ing our sleeping as well as during our waking moments, Laura went 
on dreaming of what the butler had said, and turning it to all the wild 
purposes of imagination. She thought that she was playing ghost 
again, but now deliberately and with malice aforethought ; and in her 
dream she walked hither and she walked thither through Outrun Castle, 
making very extraordinary discoveries, she knew not well of what, and 
seeing extraordinary sights, she knew not well where. 

Thus went on madam P'ancy all night, sitting astride of Laura's nose 
— we wonder she did not tumble off; for though it was as pretty a little 
nose as any in Europe, it was scarce large enough to be the hobby-horse 
even of a grasshopper — and filling her brain with all sorts of curious 
images. In the midst of all this our sweet little heroine awoke, and 
lay for some time afterwards reflecting upon all that had gone on in 
her own mind. It might be a curious question, how many great schemes 
besides the manufacture of patent shot, have been suggested to mankind 
by dreams. Not a few, reader, not a few — battles, sieges, stratagems, 
plots, arts, devices : for though fancy be a frolicksome jade, and, where 
you give her her head, will run away with you, yet still, wlien the rein 
lies easy in sleep, and you let her gallop at her will, she will often take 
you over a fence with an easy leap which would have cost you a mile to 
go round, had you been riding any other horse, or prevented her from 
having her own way. It was a dream first suggested to the mind of 
Laura Longmore the idea of remaining voluntarily in Outrun Castle, 
and enacting the ghost for her own satisfaction ; and as she lay and 
pondered upon the matter, the bit of fun thus started seemed more and 
more enticing every minute. What a strange thing human nature is ! 
that having a key imder one's pillow should change the whole aspect of 
a particular situation, and make that which was distressing, painful, 
tedious, annoying — in short, a great bore — seem an excellent joke and 
a very pleasant amusement. All the day before, Laura had been in a 
state of the greatest depression — sad, sorrowful, anxious; but now that 
she had discovered that little key, she was as gay as a lark, and the only 
thing that troubled her was the thought that her father and Harry Worrel 
should go on grieving for her as dead. Not that she did not feel a 
great inclination to take up the ghost with Worrel also for a little, a 
very little while, just in order that she might have the pleasure of seeing 
herself mourned, and of removing the cause of mourning. But still her 
first business was in Outrun Castle ; and how to remain the ghost there, 
and yet to let her father know that she was in a substantial state of 
existence, was a matter that puzzled her. 

It is a pleasant thing to lie in bed of a fine spring morning and see 
the lines of sunlight move along the floor, and hear the gay birds sing 
their matin song, with all the sweet accessaries of country life, and a 

156 THE commissioner; OB, 

young season and a young heart. Always have the window open, dear 
reader, for there is something in the soft breath of spring, as he comes 
with one wing perfume and the other music, which, while it plays 
round your cheek as you lie and meditate, makes you feel as if 
sweet kindred spirits had come from afar upon the broad pathway of 
the sunshine to watch your repose and gratulate your waking. It is 
a very pleasant thing, indeed, thus to lie and enjoy the otium which the 
old poet spoke of, falsely by some translated idleness ; for there is no 
time in all mortal existence in which mind is more active than when 
that otium possesses the body — active in fine and high things, though 
not, perhaps, in the dull and sordid cares of life, in the beastly 
struggles, and the foul contentions of the working-day world, for, 
thank God, man, or woman either, may be very active, though he" 
be not engaged in mending, marring, grooming a horse, carpenter- 
ing, joining, or cabinet-making, which six occupations comprise 
amongst themselves in their different acceptations, ramifications, and 
subdivisions, all the possible employments of a human being, except 
moon-calfmg — as I will be bound to demonstrate to you, my lord 
archbishop, any time you will set apart a day for the whole discussion 
of the subject. 

It is very pleasant, indeed, but the worst of it is — and the wor^t of 
every other pleasant thing upon the earth — that it must have an end. 
Thus liaura enjoyed herself very much for about an hour after 
she awoke, but then foolishly getting ashamed of lying any longer, she 
rose, and was beginning to dress herself, when the light tap of one of 
the maids was heard at her door. They made their appearance once 
more two together, but in the present instance this proceeding was 
adopted, not in respect to any ghosts, but rather out of reverence for 
their lord's commands, who had a great idea of putting one woman as 
a check upon another. Having brought their fair charge all that was 
necessary for her toilet, the maidens were about to retire, but Laura 
renewed her application to Lord Outrun in a somewhat peremptory 
tone ; and Jane, who was one of the two on the present occasion, re- 
plied, in her pretty timid way, that she would tell his lordship as soon 
as he came down, but that he never made his appearance before noon. 

liaura's breakfast was brought at the usual hour, was eaten with a 
much better appetite than the day before, and being finished was 
cleared away. The window looking out into the park, became again 
her resource ; and she was enjoying the sight of a troop of deer gal- 
loping in single file across the park and leaping over a little rivulet 
that obstructed their course, when a step heavy, but not slow, upon 
the staircase, announced the coming of Lord Outrun. At the same 
time, however, Laura heard a long, peculiar chuckling laugh, such as 
might do honour to a prime minister. It may be asked, what's in a 
laugh any more than a name ; but let me tell the reader, there is more 
character displayed in the mode and the manner of a laugh, than in all 
the speeches that ever were spoken, or all the looks that ever were 
looked. I never yet knew a great man or a candid man, (and I have 
known many of both,) from the Duke of Wellington to Dugald 
Stewart, who had not a hearty outspoken cheerfiU laugh. But there is 


a sort of low chuckling, mocking, insouciant cachinnation, which, 
whenever you hear it, be it from whom it may, you may be perfectly 
sure that that man is utterly impervious to every thing like a sense of 
moral right and wrong. It is not that he is hard, or harsh, or firm, or 
stern, or strong principled. No ; it is that he is utterly careless about 
every thing, that he is of the hlaze. school of philosophy ; for I know 
nothing else to call it, Avhose foundation is the extinction of all feeling, 
and whose motto is indifference. They are all of them, almost to a 
man, what are called devilish good-humoured fellows, and most of 
them have a certain quantity of wit, for their blood is but soap and 
water, and it requires no great skill to blow bubbles with it. 

That low, chuckling, supercilious laugh was not exactly Lord Out- 
run's characteristic, for a somewhat better spirit would occasionally 
cause him to laugh loud and jollily ; but as soon as Laura heard it upon 
this occasion she naturally said to herself — 

" There is no chance of making any impression upon this man ; so 
I must take my own way with him." 

The moment after, the key turned in the lock, and the noble viscount 
entered. His rosy face, which, if any thing, was of a shade deeper 
than ordinary, was all smiles and blandishment ; and advancing to 
Laura, he took her hand, saying — " How are you, my sweet young 
lady ? More beautiful than ever, I declare ! Why, you are perfectly 
resplendent." And he went on to apologise for not being able to visit 
her during the preceding day, as all the sad business he had to go 
through, coroner's inquests, ^c. — and he had very nearly laughed again 
in spite of the rueful air he struggled to assiune — had occupied him 

" I am very happy, my lord, that you are come at length," said 
Laura in a determined tone, tliough she knew it would be of no use to 
try for her liberation, and did not particularly wish it. " I desire to 
know upon what pretence, upon what motive, you have had me carried 
away, and continue to keep me here ?" 

" Upon the purest parental affection, my sweet friend," replied Lord 

" A very curious token of affection, certainly," said Laura. 

" But none the less sincere," replied the peer. " The fact is, that 
since that unfortunate affair of my poor dear deceased Freddy, I cannot 
bear the thought of your giving your hand to any one else, except 
some one who is worthy to succeed him in your affections. I know 
you were devotedly attached to liim." 

" Your lordship is mistaken," replied Laura, who saw that the peer, 
was so little affected by his son's death, that she need not be very 
delicate in regard to his memory. " Your lordship is mistaken ; I dis- 
liked him amazingly." 

" Ah ! love has its whims," said the peer ; "love has its whims. 
You were attached to him — only you did not know it: and, as I was 
saying, I cannot bear the idea of one for whom I have so high a 
regard and esteem as yourself, giving her hand to any body unworthy 
to succeed the object of her first choice." 

He had well nigh made Laura angry j and, perhaps, if she had not had 


the key in her pocket she might have threatened to throw herself out of 
the window, and do all manner of violent things. As it was, however, 
she resolved to take the affair quietly, perhaps we may say a little 
saucily ; but, if anger for ill treatment never vents, itself in a more dis- 
agreeable manner, no great harm will be done. Laura got up and 
made the peer a low and stately courtesy, saying — 

" I am deejjly indebted to your lordship, and so will . doubtless be 
my father, when he conies to know that out of pure parental solicitude 
for me, you have inflicted upon him the bitter sorrow of supposing his 
only child burnt to death, and have inflicted upon me the punishment 
of solitary confinement. For my part, I estimate your lordship's favours 
justly and to the full : my father will do so also as soon as he knows 
them, and will endeavour to repay them in the most approved manner." 

Lord Outrun did look a little foolish ; but as Laura spoke, a plan 
came across her mind, and she added, before the peer could reply — 

" May I ask if 1 am to be kept totally without amusement, as well as 
without society?" 

"Oh! I don't want to keep you without society, my dear," replied 
the peer. " You shall have the whole range of the house and be my 
little housekeeper, if you will promise not to run away. 1 will intro- 
duce you to my nephew, who is very like poor Freddy." 

" I will run away the moment I can," said Laura : " depend upon 
it, I will not stay a moment longer than I can help." 

" Well, then, my little dear-spirited thing," cried the viscount, " all 
I can do is to give you amusement. Now, what sort of amusement do 
you want ?" 

" Books," said Laura, " music, drawing, a gallop across the park 
upon a nice horse, would not be amiss ; and if that's not to be had, a 
walk in the garden." 

" Very pretty, by jingo!" cried the peer ; "but as neither galloping 
nor walking will suit your health at present, I will send you up some 
books and some tilings for drawing. I dare say, we can find a pencil or 
two in the house." 

" A crow pen and some Indian ink will do," said Laura, " if you 
cannot. But remember, my lord, I insist upon beinnj suffered to depart. 
I warn you tliat you keep me here at your peril, and that I will cer- 
tainly seek redress as soon as I am at liberty." 

The peer chuckled gaily, and seemed to think it vastly great fun to 
see fair Laura Longmore in a passion, as he termed it. 

" I will introduce my nephew to you as soon as he comes down," 
said the peer. " He used to be a very nice handsome young man, and 
he'll find means to console you I don't doubt." 

I^aura did not deign to make any reply, but turned towards the 
window, and the peer seized the opportunity to depart, saying that he 
would send every thing to make her comfortable. 

In about half an hour the two maids returned with a large basket 
between them full of books, paper,, pencils, and writing materials ; 
for Lord Outrun, confident of his own peo])le and tlieir perfect 
obedience, had not the slightest apprehension of Laura making her 
escape, or holding any communication with her friends. Her first 


proceeding, however, was to write a brief letter to her father, in order 
to quiet his mind, and the next question was how to get it conveyed. 
She thus sat a long time pondering over the matter, thinking which of 
the two girls she should try to bribe, or whether the old housekeeper, 
who visited her from time to time, might not have a heel as well as 
Achilles. At the end of about half an hour, however, she heard some 
one whistling, and putting her head out of the window, she perceived 
coming round the corner of the house a countryman in a smock-frock. 
Her determination was taken in a moment, and she called to the man 
to stop a minute, which he instantly did and looked up ; upon which 
Laura giving him a nod with the most easy and unconcerned 
look that she could command, went to a table, took up the note and 
threw it out, saying, " If you will take that note, or send any one with it 
to Mr. Longmore of Ivy Hall, you will get half-a-crown for your pains." 

" Do it with pleasure, miss," said the mtm, taking up the note, and 
Laura dismissing him with a nod, saw him walk across the park un- 

This being accomplished to her heart's content, she amused herself 
in two ways : first in reading, and then constructing from some old 
pocket handkerchiefs which she found in the trunk, a shade for the 
lamp which was left with her at night, in such a manner as to give 
it all the effect of a dark-lantern. 

To do Lord Outrun nothing more than justice it must be said he fed 
every part of his household in the best possible manner, and Laura 
was certainly taken especial care of. Every delicacy of the season 
was sent up for her dinner about half-past six o'clock, then came tea 
and coffee, and at half-past ten the maids did not scruple to inquire 
what she would like for supper. Dismissing tliem as soon as possible, 
however, of which they were right glad, for the very atmosphere of the 
place felt ghastly to them, Laura affected a desire to go to bed, but in 
reality to prepare herself for her expedition with more care than she had 
done upon the preceding night. The grey satin gown and the black 
mantilla, were of course chosen as her garments on account of the 
great effect they had produced and the disguise which the hood of the 
mantilla afforded, but Laura made some additions to her toilet, having 
discovered in tlie drawing-box which had been sent to her the means of 
rendering herself much more ghost-like. To say the truth, had Jerry 
Tripe but taken time to look he would have seen that the spirit of his 
dear departed young lady was as delicately rosy as one of Albano's 
angels ; but on tlie present occasion Laura did not scruple to besmear 
the fine red and white of her skin with a mixture of white chalk and 
Prussian blue, which gave her such a cadaverous appearance as to 
make her start when she looked in the glass. Even after the clock had 
struck twelve she waited till some remote sounds of merriment which 
she heard died away, and then cautiously opening the door with her 
mufHed lamp in her hand, she issued forth and took the same course 
which she had followed on the preceding night. This time, however, 
she descended the stairs in peace, and opening the door by which Jerry 
Tripe had entered, she saw a long passage up which came the sounds 
of voices, and that fact deterred her from proceeding any farther in that- 


direction. On the other hand was another door to which she concluded 
the respectable Jerry Tripe had been directing his course, when she en- 
countered him, and opening it she perceived before her a short passage, 
and another staircase with a fine mahogany balustrade. Not doubting 
that this must lead to some of the better parts of the house, she 
ascended with a noiseless step, and then followed a corridor which she 
found at the top. At the end of it were three doors — one before her, one 
on the right hand, and one on the left. There was a low murnmring 
of voices too, as of persons speaking in little more than a whisper, and 
not exactly distinguishing where the sounds came from, she opened the 
right-hand door, with some palpitation of the heart it must be acknow- 
ledged, but with a firm and noiseless hand. The moment she did so, 
she saw before her a gallery with tall windows on one side and portraits 
on the other. Her entrance was so noiseless that though the gallery 
was not vacant she disturbed nobody, and by the single light which it 
contained she beheld the pretty little housemaid, Jane, w.ith a candle in 
her left hand, standing talking to a gentleman who held her right ten- 
derly in his, and in whom, to her surprise and consternation, Laura 
recognised no less a person than the Honourable Henry Frederick 
Augustus Fitzurse ! 

Poor Jane was in the midst of a vehement reply, to something that 
the honourable gentleman had said to her — " No ;" she said with great 
emphasis on each word ; " No, I will not. — I see you do not intend to 
keep your word with me." 

" Stuff and nonsense, Jane!" cried the hopeful heir of Outrun Castle. 
" I will keep all my promises. Don't be a silly girl." 

" Did you not promise to marry me ?" asked Jane ; " and are you 
not going to marry this young lady, this Miss Longmore, that they have 
got here instead ?" 

" Pooh, nonsense ! I'll not marry her," cried Mr. Fitzurse. " Come, 
come, Jane, don't be silly. I will marry none but you, depend upon it." 

Mr. Fitzurse was going on, but Laura, having had time to recover from 
her surprise, and to remember that Mr. Fitzurse was not the most cou- 
rageous of mortals, and also fearing that she might hear something more 
of their secrets than might be in any degree pleasant and delectable to her 
ears, resolved to make a bold stroke for her ghostly reputation, and 
advancing with a slow, silent, gliding step, towards the head of the 
great staircase, which she saw at the other end of the gallery, she came 
close before the eyes of Mr. Fitzurse with the light of Jane's candle 
streaming full upon her quaint old habiliments and whitened coun- 
tenance. Jane's honourable lover instantly staggered back with a loud 

" D n it !" and Jane suddenly turning round with readily excited 

terror saw the sight likewise, and with a vigorous scream let the candle 
fall after the most approved fashion. 

" Marry her !" said Laura in a deep solemn voice, but without 
stopping her progress for a single moment ; " Marry her, or the fate 
of your race will fall upon you !" and on she went, quickening her 
steps, till reaching the top of the great staircase she turned round into 
the right-hand corridor, which she concluded would lead her back to 
her chamber. 







" Seen the ghost ! By jingo, that's good," cried the peer, as he sat with 
his son and Tom Hamilton at breakfast the next morning. " Freddy, 
you are a ninny-hammer. There's no such thing as a ghost ; and no 
spirit but brandy — that's worth drinking at all events. Never suffer 
such stuff to get into your head as that, boy. You've been about some- 
>vhat that you shouldn't ; and then that cursed, cowardly thing called 
conscience has got hold of you, and made you fancy you saw some- 

" But — I — did — see it," drawled forth Mr. Fitzurse ; " I saw it as 
plain as the nose on your face." 

"Not very plain, either," cried Tom Hamilton; "for, by Jove, his 
lordship's face is all of one colour ; and his nose is like a spot in the 
sun — one wants a smoked glass to see it. If you had said as plain as 
Jerry Tripe's nose, I could have imderstood you, Fitzurse. But come, 
tell us what the ghost is like : I should like to see it mightily." 

" Pooh, pooh !" cried the peer ; " he was either drunk, or foolish, or 
in a fright, or else some of the maids dressed themselves up to terrify 
him. What was it like, Freddy ; what was it like ?" 

" Ah, you may all laugh if you please," said the honourable scion, 
" but you'd have been in as great a fright as I was, if you had seen 

" Then it was a she ghost," cried the peer ; "by jingo, she had better 
not come near me, for I would make her pay for it one way or another. 
What was she like, Freddy, I say ? was she a tall, long, lanky thing, 
with goggle eyes, and a mouth from ear to ear ?" 

" No, no,'' answered his son, who, to say the truth, had taken a 
much more accurate survey of the supposed ghost than might have been 
expected ; " she was young and pretty enough if she hadn't been so 
white ; and she was not very tall either — something between the height 
of Jane and Sally, our two house-maids ; but she was as white as a 
sheet, and moved along without any step." 

" She must have gone upon castors," said Tom Hamilton. " W^as 
she dressed in a white sheet, Fitzurse?" 

c. — NO. VI. M 

162 THE commissioner; or, 

" No, not at all," answered his friend, impatiently. " She was very 
like one of the pictures in the gallery — the third from the west door." 

" Ay," cried the peer, seeming to be suddenly plunged by his son's 
words into the stream of memory, and struggling for a minute against 
the current, before he could reach the bank again ; " ay, poor thing ! — 

D n her, she behaved very ill ; but 1 was sorry for her after she 

was gone. Like that picture, do you say, Freddy ? Like my sister ?" 

" No, mot just like that," said the Honourable Frederick Henry 
Augustus — " not just like that, either ; for the woman in that picture 
is all pink and rosy ; and the ghost was white and blue, but she had on 
a grey, silvery sort of satin with a little black mantilla and hood though." 

The rubicund countenance of the peer underwent some of those varia- 
tions of colour which we sometimes see take place in the wattles of an 
agitated turkey-cock. His face, in short, made a great effort to turn 
white ; and though it could not accomplish the feat entirely, on account 
of .certain pertinacious bumps and knobs which varied from red to 
blue, under the emotion of the moment, yet the plain from which these 
rose — the ground-plan of his countenance, if one may so call it — became 
of an ashy paleness, and even his lips lost the hue of life. 

" Hallo ! open the window," cried Tom Hamilton ; " throw some 
water in his face." 

" No, no," cried the peer, walking to the fire-place, and ringing the 
bell. " No water, any way ! Jerry, give me a glass of brandy. 

D n me, he saw the ghost too ! There must be something in it, 

by jingo r 

" But what's the matter, my lord ?" cried Tom Hamilton. 

" What is the matter, most noble dad ?" asked Mr. Fitzurse. " I 
never saw you turn pale at the name of grey satin before." 

" Hark ye," said the peer, lowering his voice, "don't say any thing more 
about it. It was in that very grey satin and black mantilla she was 
dressed, when I caught her going to run away with the fellow from the 
ball. I gave her a terrible horsewhipping, and they say she never 
recovered it ; so I have not horsewhipped any one since. But don't 

talk any more about it. D n me, Jerry Tripe, are you never going 

to give me that brandy ? Do you wish me to die of gout in the sto- 
mach ? Why you're as white as a sheet yourself, you fool — all except 
your nose, and that looks like a red-hot shot on a snowball. Ha ! ha ! 
ha ! ha !" and the peer laughed till the colour came back into his face. 

" Ah, my lord — ah, my lord," cried Jerry Tripe, with his knees 
trembling underneath him, " it's no joke, I can tell you. I saw her 
myself, with my own eyes, just as she was that night ; and she asked 
me^ ." 

** Hold your tongue, you idiot," cried the peer, seizing him by the 
throat. " Get out of the room, and go into the library ;" and pushing 
him out of the door, his lordship snatched the bottle of brandy from 
the butler's hand, and, returning to the table, half filled one of the 
tea-cups and drank it off. 

^"Fiddlestick's end!" he cried; "there's no such thing~as a ghost. 
It's all a fudge. Freddy, I wonder you can be such a nincompoop r 


Tom, I want some trout for dinner : can't you go and fetch me some, 
and take Freddy with you ?" 

" Why, my lord," replied Tom Hamilton, " that would never do. I 
am liable to be arrested upon the coroner's warrant, and so is my 
honourable friend, as they have it in parliament, for the jury brought 
in their verdict against himself. No, no ; it would never answer for 
one of the murderers to go fishing with the dead man. If I go at all, 
I must put on my doctor's wig, and he must stay at home. But when 
do you intend to bury him ?" 

" I had forgot — I had forgot," cried the peer. " By jingo, we must 
bury him I" 

" I'll be d d if I'm buried," cried the Honourable Henry Fre- 
derick Augustus. 

" Not unlikely," said Tom Hamilton, drily. 

"Nonsense, nonsense, Freddy," cried the peer; "you must be 
buried. By jingo ! you shall be buried : but you shall walk at your 
own funeral, my boy. You shall be your own cousin, and come down 
from London to attend the sad ceremony. We'll get some Tyrian 
dye, Tom, and black this load of whey-coloured oakum he's got upon 
his cheeks ; and then, with a dark-brown Brutus, a white handkerchief, 
and a black coat, he will look as imlike Frederick Fitzurse as a black- 
faced ram to a white poodle. Then we'll introduce you to the young 
lady, Freddy : you must be as sweet upon her as the bottom of an 
unstirred teacup, press her home, get her to marry you, as the French 
girls do, for the sake of her liberty, and then the old man's money is 
secured beyond all chance or risk. But I must run and talk to Jerry 
Tripe. You, Tom, go and catch the trout ; and we'll make a regular 
night of it here, for we must keep the boy merry, now we have made a 
corpse of him, and not let him get melancholy in his grave situation." 

Thus saying, the peer quitted the room ; Tom Hamilton walking to 
the window, with a look of thought such as did not often visit his 
merry countenance. 

. " So, Fitzurse," he said, as soon as the peer was gone, " you have 
really seen the ghost, have you ?" 

The promising young gentleman looked somewhat dogged, imagining 
that his friend was going to amuse himself a little at his expense. The 
weak and the vicious have always a misty consciousness of being open at 
various points to the lash of censure and satire, not unlike that vague 
and overpowering conviction of a future state, with its rewards and 
punishments, which oppresses the mind of the sceptic. Both classes 
attempt to shelter themselves under the assumption of a cold indif- 
ference; but both are in reality sensitively alive to the least word that 
shows them their weakness, their wickedness, or their folly. 

"It is no use talking to you, Tom," said Mr. Fitzurse ; "but I 
think my eyes are as good as another man's, let him be what he may ; 
and what I saw, I saw. You may laugh if you like, but it's very true, 
I tell you." 

"Oh, I do not laugh at all," replied Tom Hamilton gravely. "I 
Jielieve in ghosts fully, for my own pa^rt ; only it does not do to let it 

164 THE commissioner; oh, 

out always, for fear people should laugh. I don't see any reason why 
there should not be plenty of ghosts, though I never saw one. What 
sort of a thing is it ?" 

' "Why, just like a woman," said Mr. Fitzurse, "only very white; 
and then one could see the wainscot through it in different places yon 
know, and all that sort of thing." 

" What wainscot ?" asked Tom Hamilton. 

"Why the wainscot just in the picture-gallery," rejoined the heir- 
apparent of the house of Outrun. " It came in at the west door, or at 
least from that quarter, and swept along by us out at the other side 
by the great staircase towards the haunted rooms, as the people call 
them. I have often heard people talk of it before, but never thought 
that we should see it there." 

" Us ?" said Tom Hamilton ; " we ? Then there was more than 
one of you ?" 

" Yes, there were two," said Mr. Fitzurse, winking -one of his fish- 
like eyes in a significant manner. 

" I understand — I understand," said Tom Hamilton, laughing ; 
" but ril tell you what I would do if I were you, Fitzurse. You know 
the actors and actresses won't perform upon the stage in any part where 
there's a supper, without having real meat and drink before them. 
Now I wouldn't be supposed, if I were you, to come down from Lon- 
don to attend the funeral, without going up to London first, and 
spending a day or two there. I'd go to his lordship directly, and 
make him give me enough to carry me through for two or three days 
in grand style. It is better being up there while you must lie dead, 
than down here hiding away in your own room, like a rat that has 
caught sight of the cat." 

Mr. Fitzurse took the hint in a moment, not a little glad, to say the 
truth, to get out of his state of temporary imprisonment. The plan 
for conveying him away unseen, or, at least, unrecognised, was speedily 
concocted between himself and Tom Hamilton, who, as the reader may 
have perceived, had a peculiar genius for all sorts of plots and con- 
trivances ; and that matter being settled, away he rushed to his worthy 
father, whom he found in deep and earnest conference with that 
respectable functionary, Jeremy Tripe. His lordship saw but one 
impediment, and that was the money. 

" My dear boy," he cried, " I've scarce got enough to bury you 
decently. I'm sorry I did not subscribe to the burial society in the 
village, where I see there are two or three places vacant ; but I've got 
but thirty pounds in the house. We're hard up, I tell ye, Freddy, and 
must get this girl somehow, or we're done." 

Jeremy Tripe, however, like a generous and self-devoted servant, 
came to the aid of his young master, and offered to lend him twenty 
pounds out of his own private resources, which, as the reader is well 
aware, he had peculiar means of recruiting, under the influence of the 
fair planet : he exacted nothing but a note of hand bearing interest, 
and the whole thing was speedily settled to the satisfaction of all. 
Mr, Fitzurse was smuggled out of the castle, through the park, and 


by the fields, under the garb of a ploughman, and took his way to 
London by the first conveyance he could find ; promising to return in 
three days for the funeral, under the garb and appearance of a suppo- 
sitious first cousin. 

' In the meanwhile, Tom Hamilton whistled three bars of the Welsh 
air called, *' Of noble race was Shenkin," which perhaps might have 
some occult reference to the family in whose dwelling he was domi- 
ciled; and then tapping his forehead two or three times, he said, 
" The picture-gallery ! Well, well, we will see. The ass hasn't wit 
enough to get such a story up out of his own fancy : you might as well 
imagine a deal box to produce the effect of the phantasmagoria, as 
his thick head to produce any thing fancifid. No, no, there must be 
some reality in the thing ; but I will soon see whether this ghost be 
tangible or not. I've no great fear of it, if it come in an unsubstan- 
tial form, and still less if it come in a substantial one ; but I'll shake 
hands with it, whatever way it appears, or know the reason why." 

Having formed this bold resolve, the result of which will be made 
known to the reader at an after-period, Tom Hamilton retired to his 
own chamber, donned a fisherman's dress of greenish fustian — let me 
recommend the same to all my readers and true lovers of the angle, as 
the only garb, when completed with a green velvet cap and broad 
shade for the eyes, which will escape the shrewd glance of those wary 
old trout, who liaving been pricked with the hook, take fright at every 
thing that looks too bright — and with rod in hand, and basket upon 
back, sallied fortli to the banks of the stream that ran through the 
Outrun estate, totally forgetting the necessity of concealing himself 
from the pursuit of parish-constables. 

After flogging the water for an hour, and catching but two insig- 
nificant fish, Tom Hamilton, perceiving that his speckled friends were 
no longer at feed, sauntered down the river for three or four miles, and 
then sat himself down upon the bank, constructing flies, and examining 
lines, in order to give time for the gentry of the stream to recover 
their appetite. He proposed to fish back again in the cool of the 
afternoon ; and in the meanwhile spent his time very comfortably, being, 
in fact, a man in whom a naturally good heart supplied occasionally 
the want of principle, and with whom a warm imagination often, 
prompted to that sort of meditation which, in others, is the child of a 
thoughtful disposition. He liked to lock upon the water and see it run 
glistening by, without very well knowing why or wherefore. He liked 
to hear the birds singing in the bushes round ; he liked seeing the blue 
water-fly play upon the bosom of the stream : it was all an enjoyment 
to his mind, without the fatigue of thought, and thus a couple of hours 
passed pleasantly over his head, in that careless sort of happiness 
which was the temptation to half his faults : for depend upon it, good 
reader, a great portion of mankind are wicked because their minds are 
not active enough to be good. 

Certain indications that he saw on the water near, the quick dart 
of a small trout at a may-fly, and some passing clouds sweeping 
over the sky, at length induced Tom Hamilton to try his hand again, 

166 THE commissioner; ok, 

and this time he proved more successful than before. A voracious 
fellow of some two pounds' weight was soon landed on the bank, 
and walking gently onward, he took his way back to the castle 
through a sweet valley, wooded here and there in such a manner 
that it was scarcely possible to cast a line, but every now and 
then opening out into small meadows, with the stream rippling along 
between banks of tiuf, from which the fishing was most delect- 
able. His basket was growing heavy, but with the pertinacity 
of a true fisherman he went on, till the stream, broad and smooth, 
though shallow, ran between some deep wood, which cast a cool 
green shadow on the limpid surface of the water, scarcely suffering 
the sun, even at his highest noon, to peep at the clear mirror which 
reflected all the verdant things around. 

Below was a tumbling pool of considerable depth, between high 
cliffy banks wooded on one side, bare on the other; and as Tom 
Hamilton knew that the deep eddies hereabouts were the resort of 
many a patriarchal fin, he waded into the water above the pool, and 
approached it with a slow and cautious step, there being no place on 
the bank from which he could fish. 

He had got his rod over his head, with the line and fly depending be- 
hind, ready to cast the latter delicately to the tail of a ripple, where usu- 
ally lodged a large sagacious trout which had often before set all his arts 
at defiance. But just at the moment he was going to throw, there was 
a quick step on the bank above, and looking through some leafy boughs 
that made a green screen above his head, he saw a bonnet, and a 
shawl, and fluttering ribands. The wearer approached the bank, not 
perceiving any one below, and looked over into the tumbling waters of 
the pool, gazing down upon them for a moment as if she had lost some- 
thing. She then took a step or two back, paused for a minute, and 
again ran quickly forward to the very edge ; but when she reached it 
courage seemed to fail her, and she stopped. Pausing, she once more 
looked down, while, still as death, Tom Hamilton watched the result, 
without betraying his presence by a single movement. At length the 
girl seemed moved by some sudden strong emotion, and clasping her 
hands together, she cried, " My poor mother !" and leapt at once from 
the bank. 

The waters received her, and she disappeared with a gurgling whirl ; 
but casting away rod and line, in an instant Tom Hamilton plunged 
over the little ledge of stone which caused the rapid, caught the girl by 
the cloak, and then by the arms as she rose, and holding her at a 
distance to avoid the convulsive clutch with which she now sought to 

frasp him, he swam with her to the bank, and drew her out, panting, 
ewildered, and half dead. 
" In the name of heaven, Jane !" he exclaimed, " what has made you 
commit such a folly ?" 

At first poor Jane did not answer him, but continued to pant, and 
sob, and weep, for at least ten minutes. At length, however, she 
recovered breath and strength ; and in that sort of epanchement of the 
heart which au escape from any great danger is sure to produce 


—especially in nouns of the feminine gender — she poiu'ed forth a story 
which shall not be told to the reader. I rather think that it is 
unnecessary, indeed, and that enough may have been guessed to render 
all the first part of her history quite intelligible, without further ex- 
planation. The second part may be told in the six words with which 
she ended her tale. " And now he has left me !" she said, and cover- 
ing her eyes with her hands, she again wept bitterly. 

" Jane, you are a silly girl," said Tom Hamilton, who was suddenly 
keized with a spirit of admonition. " Get up directly, go home, and 
dry your clothes. You are a silly girl, I say, and have just committed 
a very silly act. He has only gone to London for two days ; and if I 
had not been by, would have come back on Friday, and found you 
drowned. Never let your passions run away with you, or think that 
you can remedy one wrong thing by doing another : it is like a 
drunken man who takes another bottle of wine to sober himself, and 
only gets drunker than before. Besides, my poor girl, of all the ills of 
life, there is none irremediable but death : it puts the seal upon the 
parchment, Jane, and conveys the estate away from us for ever. If 
you should ever be tempted to do such a thing again, recollect, — first, 
that you may not know much of the circumstances of the present ; 
secondly, that you cannot know any thing of the circumstances of the fu- 
ture. You may always be mistaken a good deal about your own situa- 
tion at the moment ; you are almost certain of being mistaken as to 
'what the next moment will produce. Here you mistook about Fitzurse 
having left you altogether, when he is to return directly ; and you 
thought in five minutes to have drowned yourself, and yet here you are 
■as much alive as ever. Perhaps, my good girl, if I had not been near 
to save you, ere this time you might have found out likewise that you 
had made a mistake in thinking that death is peace. So now, go home 
and dry your clothes ; and if Fitzurse has promised, as you say, to 
marry you ** 

" 1 will show it to you, sir, in his own hand," said Jane. 

" Then let us hope he will keep his word," replied Tom Hamilton : 

** I will try to make him do so By Jove ! what a fine fish ! I 

must have him before I go. So run home and dry yourself, and say 
your prayers, and take a glass of brandy and water." 

Jane did as he bade her ; and Tom Hamilton instantly waded into 
the water, and threw his line again. Whether it was that his morality 
had steadied his hand, or that virtue is always destined to be rewarded 
— I wish some one would reward mine — I know not ; but certain it is 
that he caught the fish which had baffled him twenty times before, and 
went on his way well contented. 

16B THE commissioner; or, 





Having now deliberately scattered all our characters over tlie whole 
face of England, and left no two of them together, except Worrel 
and the Chevalier de Lunatico, we shall presently proceed to bring 
them all together again, just as natui'e, acting by alternate expansion 
and contraction, produces all the marvellous operations of the physical 
world. The truth is, dear reader — for this book, like all others of the 
present day, professing to teach every thing that is necessary to be 
known in life, I may as well give you a hint of my notions on natural 
philosophy — the truth is, dear reader, that nature, which has been said 
to act by impulses, does in reality act by expansion and contraction, 
and thus is it brought about. This world, you are well aware, and all 
that it contains, is composed of atoms — Dalton proved it, and I be- 
lieve it. Each of these atoms has its poles ; and each is in a continual 
whirl round its own axis ; but the apices of its axis are not its poles ; 
and, in fact, are at right angles with them : consequently, the at- 
tracting and repelling poles of each atom are alternately brought 
in opposition to each other ; in the one case giving a tendency to 
expand, and in the other to contract. Each solid body is in 
truth a microcosm of atoms ; and each agglomeration of atoms acts 
as a larger atom upon its neighbour, having its poles alternately at- 
tracting and repelling those of the other, and tending to contract or 
expand the whole mass. Thus the heart beats, the blood flows, the 
seasons change, and all the other phenomena that surround us in this 
strange, hydraulic machine, wherein the spirit has a lodging, take place, 
expanding and contracting, even as the child expands from the cradle 
into the magistrate's chair, and contracts again into the dust of the 

There, dear reader, it is as good a theory as any other, depend 
upon it. I hope you understand it, though I do not quite myself ; but 
as the old writers would have said — " there's something in it — and so 
make the most of it !" 

To return to our muttons, however. Before we re-unite, in the same 
orbit, all our wandering stars, and make them finish out the course they 
have only just begun — for heaven only knows where or how this book will 
end — we must separate the chevalier from his young friend, for a time, 
and take him to the first and last dinner-party which he was at in 
London at this time. The invited, to the number of seven, were present 


at the minister's house, at the appointed hour, with the exception of the 
chevalier himself, who, knowing the best means of giving himself 
importance, took especial care to be just sufficiently too late to make 
the inviter turn his eyes to a small china clock, but not sufficiently out of 
time to overdo the fish by a single bubble. The party all stood round a 
small fire which had been lighted to make the place look cheerful ; and the 
minister, who might perhaps have turned his back with contempt upon 
the first literary or scientific man of his own land, being somewhat fond 
of exhibiting rare birds, very naturally eulogized the chevalier to the 
skies, simply because he came from the moon. On his right hand was a 
fellow minister, named the Earl of Easygo, a stout and sagacious 
personage, with a bland, good-humoured countenance, which might 
have been rather dull had it not been for a certain expression which the 
French would call Jin. On the other side was a very great man, 
indeed : one who, to use the classical and highly expressive term of the 
jiation, that dwell about the elephant and castle — was " up to any thing.'* 
He had already filled half the offices of the government, and done a 
great many other tilings. He was tall and stately in person ; and, hav- 
ing a grand idea of his own personal qualifications, a strain of eloquent 
insipidity hung ever upon his tongue, while his limbs fell into attitudes 
almost worthy of Joey Pike. This was the Marquis of Abissee, who, 
being greatly smitten with his colleague's account of the chevalier, 
at the cabinet dinner of the day before, had particularly requested to 
be introduced to him. Standing in front of them was one possessed of 
no particular graces of person, and with a face in which it was difficult 
to detect much intellect ; for, at first sight, it seemed more like a 
nursery apple-pudding, just out of the cloth, than any thing else upon 
earth. When one looked nearer, however, there might be seen in the 
eyes a glance of strong intelligence ; while upon the lip hung the smile 
of kindliness of heart and generous feelings : ay, and even amongst 
the awkward motions of somewhat ungainly limbs there was the gentle- 
manly air not to be mistaken ; the high spirit of a high race shining 
through the crust in which nature had clad it, as we see the bright 
internal fire through the fissures of the rude, grey lava. 

A phenomenon, in the shape of a wealthy man of letters, made up the 
fourth. Nature had intended him for a jester; and, had he lived some cen- 
turies before, he might have lashed the follies of a court in a gay cap and 
bells ; but fortune had set him on a couch of down ; and, as nobody 
could doubt that his Hippocrene flowed from a rich source, he was held 
a mighty judge of literature, and directed by his taste the ministerial 
favours into such channels as he chose, when the stream of bounty 
turned for a moment towards the arts. The rest of the party consisted 
of several noughts, which after all are the most useful things both in 
society and arithmetic, easily divided, easily multiplied, and in politics, 
more than any where else, giving the value^ of place to the figure that 
goes before them. 

" An extremely clever man, indeed," said the minister to his tall 
colleague, speaking apparently of the Chevalier de Lunatico. " An 
extremely clever man, indeed j a keen diplomatist, I should think, with 


all the jaunty and unconcerned air of our "good friend Metternich ; and 
with that same shrewd, intelligent twinkling of the clear, grey, moon- 
light eye under the bushy brow, which distinguishes the Austrian 
Machiavel. He is evidently a liberal in principle ; indeed, he tells me 
that such is the general feeling of his country. He sees clearly the 
tendency and progress of the human mind towards the casting off of 
all shackles, civil, political, commercial, and religious, and is undoubtedly 
at heart, an advocate of a free trade in every thing except men." 

" I am glad to hear he takes in women,'' said the Earl of Easygo, 

" Good name, in man or woman — good, my lord, is the immediate 
jewel of the soul," said the Marquis of Abissee, putting himself into 
John Kemble. 

" And, like diamond rings and other jewels, is very soon lost," said 
the man of letters, " as your lordship must be practically aware." 

" I am afraid, in this life," joined in the fourth statesman, to whom we 
have not given a name, but whom we shall call Lord Fitznorth — " I am 
afraid, in this life, that such jewels are very often false, Abissee ; and 
that one half of our good dowagers, as well as of our dignified peerage, 
if they would but unlock the casket and let us examine a little closely, 
this 'immediate jewel of the soul* would be found to have nothing but 
paste set in pinchbeck, while the real diamond had gone long ago to 
the pawnbrokers." 

All the noughts smiled simultaneously. 

" He means the pop-shop, Abissee," said the Earl of Easygo ; " you 
don't know what the pawnbrokers mean, do you ?" 

" Oh ! yes, he must know very well," cried the jester — " as one of the 
present ministry he must know very well." 

" How so, how so ?" demanded the secretary of state. 

" Because they have given so many pledges which they cannot re* 
deem," replied the man of letters, " that none of them can be ignorant 
of the meaning of " 

" My uncle's," cried the earl, laughing. " You are quite right, you 
are quite right. By Jove ! we shall have to pawn some of the crown 
jewels next." 

" Are you sure that your lordship has not done so already ?" asked 
the jester. 

Every one was silent, and the personage who had spoken felt himself 
witty ; for the reader is doubtless aware, that a professed joker derives 
one half of his reputation from saying things that most men would be 
either too kind or too courteous to utter. 

It was at this awful moment, when four at least of the men in the room 
felt very much inclined to knock the man of letters down, and might 
have done it too if they had not had the fear of ridicule before their eyes, 
that the door of the room opened, and the Chevalier de Lunatico was 
announced. He was dressed with his own peculiar neatness and pro- 
priety, having on a dark blue coat with a considerable number of small 
gold buttons, not unlike the star-studded sky of a clear night. The 
lower part of his person was clad in black tightS; like the far edge of 


the same sky, and lace stockings. His shirt, which was fastened with 
studs of moon stone, had a small, fine, narrow frill, like the edge of a 
white cloud; and his face was resplendently moonshiny, clear, and 
intelligent, though there was a little empressement in his manner as if 
he sought to appear ashamed of being too late, without being in reality 
ashamed at all. 

"I beg ten thousand pardons," he said, approaching the minister 
with a quick easy air, and then setting his two heels altogether, and 
making a formal bow, " I see by the clock in your hall I am ten 
minutes too late. Is your time accurate ?" 

" Solar time, chevalier ; solar time," said the minister. 

" Ay ! unfortunately mine is lunar time," said the chevalier ; at 
which the noughts laughed, thinking that he meant a joke, and the 
jester lifted up his ears, under apprehension lest any one might 
venture to trespass upon his ground. 

" My Lord of Easygo, the Chevalier de Lunatico ! Abissee, the 
Chevalier ! Fitznorth — Lord Fitznorth, Chevalier !" 

The man of letters was next introduced, who thinking that he must 
say something, replied to the chevalier's bow by inquiring whether it 
was not very cold in his planet ? 

" No, sir," replied the chevalier, " it is a great receptacle for hot- 
headed men ; and, as far as I can see, there is no place in the universe 
to be compared to this great town of London for cold-hearted ones." 

" There are warm-hearted ones enough on the other side of the 
channel," said Lord Fitznorth, " as you will find if you choose to visit 
the sister island, chevalier.'* 

" I shall certainly visit it before I have done," said Mr. de Lunatico, 
"though I think I have formed a very just estimate of it merely from 

"Hearsay! The great resource of all travellers," said the jester, 
" and that which makes all their statements so very true.'* 

" Hearsay !" exclaimed the marquis, " that will never do. Go 
thither — go thither, and see. * Take physic, pomp,* expose thyself to 
feel what wretches feel." 

" But let the chevalier tell us what his notion is," said Lord Fitz- 
north. " I should like much to hear. May we ask you to explain 
yourself, Mr. de Lunatico ?" 

" Certainly," replied our friend, with his usual graceful self-pos- 
session — and let me tell the reader, that it requires no little self-pos- 
session to be able at all times to explain what one means ; — " Certainly; 
but first let me inform this noble lord, that my name is not Pomp, nor 
Pompey either, — which I believe is the epithet of a poodle dog and a 
Roman general. As to my notion of the sister island, as you call it, 
my lord — though, to say sooth, you have shown yourselves * a little 
more than kin and less than kind' towards her — as to my notion, it is 
this. She is fertile in every thing that is good and beneficial ; warm 
in her temperature, kindly in her skies, though somewhat subject to 
storms; but owing to unskilful cultivation in some parts, and total 
want of cultivation in others, the soil that might produce the most 


abundant harvest brings forth many weeds, — some noxious, some use- 
less, some covered with gay and flaunting flowers, but poisonous in 
their fruit ; while the most magnificent crops of all that is necessary 
for social life go to waste for want of reaping, and everywhere over 
the untilled land will-o'-the-wisps dance about to mislead the be- 
wildered wanderer who sets his foot forth at night." 

" Not a bad notion at all, upon my honour," said Lord Fitznorth. 
" But we intend to cultivate it, my good chevalier, and bring all this 
waste land into tillage." 

" I am afraid, my lord," said the chevalier, " you have got a wrong 
plough and bad beasts to draw it." 

" You have doubtless got a new invention," said the jester. " I 
never yet knew any man open his mouth about Ireland, who had not 
some nostrum for her cure ; and like every one given up to quacks, 
the patient has gone on from bad to worse, till now she is at the last 

" Dinner is upon the table," said a servant, opening the doors ; and, 
marshalling his company with due gravity, the minister accompanied 
them to his dining-room. The conversation was now entirely changed ; 
wit, politics, learning, were all forgot. Cookery was the grand subject 
that was discussed : and the host iiimself, decrying, as in duty bound, 
the fare he set before his guests, vowed that there was too much sugar 
in the soup ; too much lemon in the curry ; the fish had not not been 
kept quite long enough — for it is a mistake to suppose that fresh fish 
is a virtue ; that there was a soupcon of garlic in the fillets de lajyiuy 
which was horribly unclassical ; and that the sauce-JRohert was nothing 
better than chopped onions and vinegar. 

*' The truth is," he said, " my chef is too fatigued. He exhausted 
his whole genius on the dinner yesterday, and to-day you see the effects 
of his lassitude." 

Every body pronounced the dinner excellent, stood up for the 
reputation of the dishes, and applauded the powers of the cook. 

" He seems to know how to go from grave things to light," said the 
joker; "for this vol-au-vent is not less excellent than that crapau' 

" And to know how to manage a blonde as well as a brunette," said 

the earl, " for this bechamiel is dressed like the Duchess of S , 

and that onatelotte, if it had but a string of jewels round it, might 

pass for Lady L . After all," he continued, turning to the 

chevalier with a smile, as if laughing at himself while he spoke, 
" eating, as it is the first great necessary of life, is the grand and 
only durable enjoyment ; the pleasures which are linked with it 
are the only ones that last throughout existence, beginning with a 
bit of barley-sugar, and ending with the partridge-panada, besides 
all the graceful gradations of becasse and hecassine, kidneys, and 
ducks' livers. Ambition, love, avarice, — they are all what your 
Germans call einseitig, or one-sided enjoyments. Eating comprises 
every thing, stretches over all space, extracts its inherents and its 
accessories from every thing in nature, and, if appetite and digestion be 


nicely balanced, affords that delightful alternation of desire and 
fruition which is interrupted by no interval, followed by no incon- 

" The gout, the gravel, and apoplexy ; indigestion, cardiac, embar- 
rassment, bile, spleen, chalk-stone, and paralysis ; enlarged liver, 
difficulty of breathing, hydrothorax, phlegmatous tumours, cancer, and 
carbuncle, are things to which the vulgar are subject," said the che- 
valier; "but which, of course, by what your lordship observes, are 
unknown amongst the better ranks of society in your country. In 
ours, they generally follow a certain long-continued course of good- 
feeding, especially if it be carried to any degree of excess." 

" They are always easily avoided," said the earl, smiling benignly 
upon him. " Chevalier, a glass of wine ?" 

" With pleasure, my lord," replied the chevalier ; " but may I ask 
how you propose to avoid these things? the receipt will be worth 
taking to my own country." 

" I will tell you an anecdote," said the earl, after bowing over some 
dry sillery. " There w^as once a famous man, known amongst us 
of the nether sphere as the Regent Duke of Orleans. He was a pattern 
to be imitated by all ministers and statesmen, having the grandest 
imperturbability of mind, and the vastest conception of pleasure, that 
any man ever possessed. Having given himself up for many years to 
eating and drinking, and other things that shall be nameless, some of 
his relations and flatterers, perceiving that he was growing somewhat 
fat, somewhat sleepy, and not very steady on his feet, teased him till 
he consulted a physician. The physician informed him, that if he 
went on enjoying the same innocent pleasures to the same degree, he 
would fall into palsy ; or if he exceeded, which he had lately done in 
some ways, he would die of apoplexy. The regent gave him his fee, 
but would not let him write, saying that he had already prescribed for 
him in full ; and that very night he set hard to work, eating and 
drinking more than ever. Every one asked him why he pursued such 
a course ? to which question he replied, that it was his physician's 
prescription. One of his monitors, however, once ventured to ask him, 
^A quelle fin ?^ To which he replied, laughing, ' A Vapoplexie ;* 
which explained his object fully ; and at the end of about six months 
he fell off his chair by the side of a very pretty woman, and was dead 
before she could do any thing to help him. Thus you see, it is always 
very easy to get rid of the terrible complaints you mention, without 
any fracas of doctor's carriages and labelled bottles. A good strong 
choke, an ineffectual bleeding, and the thing's done and over." 

" And does your lordship intend to follow such a course ?" de- 
manded the chevalier. 

" Not exactly," replied the Earl of Easygo ; " my life's too valuable 
to the country," and he laughed low but merrily. " You are probably 
not aware," he added, subduing his voice almost to a whisper, " that I 
am the only really patriotic man in the whole cabinet ? Sir, I am a 
modern Curtius : 1 fill up the gap in the forum. What I mean is, 
that all these other men find enjoyments in power. The exercise of 


authority, the nightly logomachy of a house of parliament, the fancy 
that he is ruling the nation, are all real pleasures to our friend there at 
the top of the table : to me they are abominations that stink in the nose. 
Money, and show, and dignified parade, are all the objects of our friend 
Abissee there : to me they are vanity of vanities. While I have my town- 
house and my country-house, and have my man-cook, and eat of every 
thing that is good a little before the season, and drink the best wine 
that can be procured for love or money, and receive and return the 
visits of some score or two of pretty and not very severe ladies, keep 
my name out of Doctors' Commons, and do not rise much before 
twelve, I can be perfectly satisfied with a moderate income and easy 
mediocrity. But the service of my country calls me : I abandon the 
pursuits to which my tastes all lead, — I sit in the dull atmosphere of a 
House of Peers, — I bore myself to death a full hour and a half each 
day with the dull business of this dullest of all kingdoms. I act the 
part, in short, of minister, solely and simply to keep together a party 
disunited at every link, and to maintain them in those offices of which 
they are so fond." 

" But, my lord," said the chevalier, " you doubtless find within your- 
self the talents necessary for such an undertaking ; and there must 
always be a pleasure in the exercise of great abilities upon great 

" Oh, dear, no," replied the earl. " I believe, it is true, that I have 
about tenfold the talents of any of my colleagues ; but indeed, my dear 
chevalier, I can but very seldom bring myself to exercise them at all 
upon any objects, either great or small. There is nothing so great a bore 
as business ; and although to you, who seem, I know not why, to com- 
mand one's confidence, I do not scruple to own that I feel within 
myself the power to write my name to-morrow upon the roll of fame, 
if I like it ; yet I can assure you, I would not take the trouble of 
mounting even a bill-sticker's ladder to placard myself among the 
greatest men of Europe. Why, what is this you are giving me ?" 

" Only an invitation," said the chevalier, " to spend a short time in 
my country, where we will provide you with an easy-chair, in which 
all your talents and high qualities will be forgotten to your heart's 

^ " Oh, very well," said the earl, thrusting the billet into his coat- 
pocket without looking at it ; "I will come with great pleasure. W^e 
will fix a day another time." 

The chevalier had never seen one of his billets received with so 
much nonchalance before, and could not help admiring the equability 
of the noble lord's mind ; but his attention was attracted to the conver- 
sation which was going on opposite, between the marquis, Lord Fitz- 
north, and the man of letters. It seemed indeed a continuation of that 
Avhich had taken place in the drawing-room, concerning Ireland ; and 
the noble Lord Abissee was strongly contending for the necessity of 
putting a stop to crime in that country, by pardoning all offences ; and 
stopping riot and tumult, by discharging every magistrate that at- 
tempted to prevent them. Lord Fitznorth somewhat differed from his 


noble friend ; and the jester said that the marquis's plan put him in 
mind of the old fable, in which a man having been bit by a dog, dipped 
a piece of bread in the blood and gave it to the beast, whereupon the 
dog immediately bit him again. 

" The way to stop roguery," exclaimed the marquis, " is decidedly 
to encourage rogues. It is only from want of encouragement that 
they are not honest men. The unjust partiality shown in bestow- 
ing favours and honours upon the upright, the peaceable, and the 
virtuous alone, naturally irritates and excites the neglected and ill- 
treated party of the violent, the turbulent, and the dishonest ; they 
claim M'ith a loud voice a ftiir share of the goods that are denied them, 
and sooner or later — if you resist the first great principle of equity, 
which teaches you to treat all men alike, without favour or distinction 
— they will exert that physical force, which exists in the masses, and 
take the portion which your injustice has denied them." 

" Hear, hear !" cried their host, who had marked with signs of great 
approbation the speech of his noble friend ; but the chevalier took 
out another billet, and as the table was too wide for him to hand it 
across, he held it in the palm of his hand ready to slip into that of the 
marquis as soon as they rose from table. 

The conversation went on in the same strain for about three quarters 
of an hour more, and then the dessert having been concluded and a 
sufficient quantity of wine imbibed, coffee was served, Avhich seemed 
to bring its own particular sort of conversation with it ; parties, feasts, 
and entertainments became the topic ; pretty women, fine ancles, beau- 
tiful eyes were discussed and commented upon ; and at length the 
carriages were announced, and the chevalier took his departure, 
slipping his billet quietly into the hand of the marquis, who looked 
startled and aghast when he read the contents, w hile the earl laughed 
merrily and offered him a place in his carriage to the moon. 

The vehicle which contained the chevalier rolled him rapidly back 
to his dwelling-place, and mounting the stairs in a slow and meditative 
mood, he was surprised to hear from the sitting-room in which he had 
left Worrel, the sound of voices talking loud and gaily, and a light peal 
of laughter in Worrel's own particular tones. On opening the door, 
however, his wonder was redoubled, for there at the table with his 
young friend, with a bottle of wine between them, his good-humoured 
face radiant with smiles, his pig-tail as stiff as that of a young 
porker, his bald forehead shining like a mirror, and a blue coat 
with a powdered collar, and gilt buttons upon his back, was no other 

than Jerry Longmore, Esquire, late of Ivy- Hall, in the county of . 

Never was there, so cheerful a countenance as Mr. Longmore bore ! 
Harry Worrel, too, Harry Worrel himself, whom the chevalier had 
left falling rapidly into a state of lackadaisicality, which he expected 
would soon carry him to the grave, was now looking as blithe as a 
morning milk-maid, and with a glass of wine raised nearly to the level 
of his eye, was exclaiming, " Here's success to her pursuit !" 

The chevalier paused, contemplating the scene, and thinking 
whether he had two more tickets in his pocket j but as soon as they 

176 THE commissioner; oh, 

saw him, both Mr. Longmore and Worrel started up ; one caught him 
by the one arm, and the other caught him by the other ; they drew 
him to the table, presented him with a glass of wine, and exclaimed 
simultaneously, " Drink, drink our new toast — health and long life to 
our dear Laura ! She's alive, chevalier, she's alive !" cried Harry 
Worrel. " Mr. Longmore has had a letter from her in her own hand." 

" Yes, my dear chevalier," said Mr. Longmore, " she must be in- 
combustible. Nothing set her on fire but love : ha, Worrel ?" and he 
touched his young friend on the fifth rib with the tip of his fore-finger. 
" We are a wonderful family, chevalier — we are a wonderful family ! 
We may well say now, that we will go through fire and water to serve 
our friends." 

" Well," said the chevalier, " if she be alive and well, that is all 
we have to care about, and the best news it is that I have heard since 
I came from the moon. Here's dear Laura Longmore, and long life 
to her." 







" Go immediately, Jerry Tripe," cried the peer, after the Honourable 
Henry Augustus Fitzurse had taken his departure — " go immediately 
and see for it. I will not be without it any longer ; the woman can't 
know the value of it. I don't believe he destroyed it." 

" Nor I either, my lord," said Jerry Tripe ; " for he told me he 
hadn't, three months ago, when I just delicately hinted that it might 
be as well to diminish the annuity your lordship gave him." 

The reader will perceive — perhaps may have perceived long ago-— 
that the word "it" is the most convenient, comfortable, extensive, 
comprehensive, benevolent, 'and sublime in the English language. 
Like charity it covers a multitude of sins ; like equity it makes no 
distinction of sexes, ages, qualities, or degrees; it spares many a 
blush, it saves many a lie, it tells many a pleasant tale without divulg- 
ing any secret, it conceals many an important fact from the ears of all but 
those who ought to know them. It leaves that misty indistinctness about 
any object that chooses to shroud itself under its mantle which is one great 
source of the sublime and poetical ; and amongst all the contentions 
of logicians and grammarians, nouns, pronouns, and genders, it stands 
neuter. How often does an "e^" mean the sweetest, how often the most 
terrible thing in life ? " Will you do it, dearest ?" may mean, " will you 
steal a long, sweet, pleasant walk with me through shady lanes and 
flowering fields, and hear me tell a tale of love often told, but always 
dearer for repetition ?" I have done it, may mean, I have broken a 
father's heart, murdered a dear friend, seduced an innocent girl, or 
any other of those blasting acts that wither up the stems of happiness 
within us for ever. 

Whatever was meant by the it which the noble viscount and his 
trusty coadjutor employed on the present occasion, they took especial 
care to use no more definite and sturdy expression ; and, consequently, 
we must not venture to explain that which the parties concerned kept 
secret. The pronounce, however, was very soon 'made more intelli- 
gible by Mr. Jerry Tripe, who, upon his lord directing him to go down 
and tear it out of his coffin if he could not find it elsewhere, exclaimed 
— «'Why, my lord, the old earth-worm is buried j they buried him 
yesterday morning." 

c. — NO. VI. ^ 


" By jingo !" exclaimed the peer ; " why the breath was scarcely out 
of his body." 

" Oh ! yes, my lord," replied the butler, shooting a shrewd glance 
at him along the line of his proboscis. " Mrs. Scapulary declared he 
began to stink." 

" More than probable, more than probable," cried the peer. " By 
jingo ! the old vermin has been worse than the butt end of a fox for 
the last ten years. However, we must have it, Jerry. Go down and 
contrive it somehow : coax and wheedle, and bully and threaten, and 
bribe and corrupt, and any thing — but get it. You are never at a loss 
for a resource, Jerry; and, if needs must be, promise her a hundred 
pounds. I will give her a bill for it." 

" Which will be read this day six months, I suppose, my lord," said 
Jerry. , 

" Yes, yes," cried the peer, who was a learned man in his own way ; 
<* we will date it on the thirtieth of February, and pay' it in the Greek 

" I understand, I understand, my lord," replied the butler. *' I will 
set out directly, and offer the widow my assistance in looking over her 

Thus saying, he made his bow and departed, taking his way across 
the park towards the gate nearest to the house of Mrs. Scapulary. As 
Mr. Tripe, though a stout and portly man, was an active one also, and 
carried his flesh with vigour, he had soon reached the gate of the widow, 
passing over, by a small foot bridge, the little stream or rather ditch 
into which the sewer of the village emptied itself. 
' The cottage of the defunct Mr. Scapulary came close upon this 
ditch, and many people marvelled that he was fond of such a residence : 
some profanely assigning as a reason, that the ditch, as seen from his 
window, bore exactly the appearance of a large grave ; and others less 
coarsely asserting, that it emitted an odour of fresh earth which they 
supposed must be pleasant to the olfactories of the sexton. 

Mr. Tripe found Mrs. Scapulary in the parlour, standing'upon a tea- 
caddy put upon the seat of a chair, for the purpose of examining the 
top of a corner cupboard — " her poor deceased Scapulary," as she ob- 
served, " having strange ways with him, especially in regard to hiding 
away sums of money in divers extraordinary places." 

" Let me help you, my dear creature," said Jerry Tripe, as the lady 
'explained to him the cause of her elevation. " I know all the good 
jnan's tricks and contrivances." 

" Ah ! you were an old friend of his, I think, Mr. Tripe," replied the 
lady, in a mournful tone. 

" Oh ! I knew him many years," said the peer's butler, « before 
you were born or thought of, my dear : but I'll help you with 
all my heart. You know I'm a man of honour, and will pocket 

^ Mrs. Scapulary wished that others would act upon the same prin- 
ciple; and thinking Mr. Tripe a very nice man, she^accepted the aid 


he proffered, watching him notwithstanding out of the corner of her 
eye, to make quite sure that his fingers were not like the measure 
lent to Ali Baba by his brother, which the reader will -recollect was 
so well greased with fat, that a piece of gold adhered to it, without 
being discovered by the person who employed it. 

Up she got upon the chair again, and Jerry Tripe upon a stool 
hard by ; and he looked at the top of a commode, while she moved 
some little porcelain flower-pots and an old hat on the top of the cup« 
^oard. Jerry Tripe thought this a very fitting opportunity for break- 
ing the business upon which he came ; and now, raised from the 
surface of the earth like two church steeples, they held a long conversa- 
tion, in the course of which Mr, Tripe explained to her that he had 
come down by his lord's order to receive from her, as the dead man's 
representative, a certain piece of paper which belonged to his lord* 
ship, but which had always accidentally been left in the hands of 
Mr. Scapulary. 

" And pray, Mr. Jerry, what is it ? and what is it like ?" said Mrs. 

" What it is," replied Jerry, " I cannot tell ye ; but it is very like 
a leaf out of a register. However, there's the name of old Mapleson, 
the present parson's grand-uncle, upon it. So if you find it, let me 
have it directly ; for it is no use to any one except my lord, who wants 
it to make up the genealogy of the family." 

" 1 didn't know that they had any geenyj^ replied Mrs. Scapulary ; 
** or alogy either for that matter." 

" Lord bless ye !" exclaimed Mr. Tripe, powerfully astounded at her 
ignorance. " Genealogy is what makes every father know his own 

" It's a mighty clever thing then," said Mrs. Scapulary. " But, 
however, I haven't seen the thing yet, or I'd give it you. Just look in 
that dark corner, Mr. Tripe." 

Mr. Tripe Stretched forth his hand, and said nothing for a moment, 
but then returned to the attack, saying in an insinuating tone, " Old 
"Scap. used to keep it in his breeches-pocket, I think." 

" Ay then that blackguard !" cried Mrs. Scapulary, thrown off her 
guard. " That blackguard has got it with the rest." 
" What blackguard, my dear lady ?" asked Mr. Tripe. 
" Wh}^ the murderer, to be sure," replied Mrs. Scapulary, recover^ 
?ng herself, with immense and wonderful presence of mind. " When 
I came back, Mr. Tripe, upon that eventful morning, the first thing 
I saw were the poor dear breeches in the middle of the floor. They 
were grey breeches, Mr. Tripe, as you well know, and both the pockets 
were turned out. Now, I know for certain, that there was a good lot 
of money in those pockets, fo>r he used always to keep some stray 
guineas, and two or three bank-notes, and a number of other papers in 
his right-hand breeches-pocket, notwithstanding all I could say. But 
he was an obstinate old devil, it must be confessed. They're all 
gone, howsumdever, and the register leaf amongst them, I'll bet." 

180 THE commissioner; or, 

" Goot tay, maddame I goot tay ; how did you was. I am extreme- 
ment glad to see you up so high. Hope to see you higher yet, wid all 
my heart. Good mornin', sair ! hope you be vary well, but I see it, 
indeed — you got such colare in your nose." 

" Who the devil is this ?" asked Mr. Tripe in a loud whisper. 

" Oh ! a French woman from London," said Mrs. Scapulary. " She's 
always about the cottage now. I wonder why she comes boring 

The lady seemed to catch the last words, and replied with a smirk 
and a courtesy — 

" No ! no ! you mistake. My name not Boring. Doctor Boring 

bore de House of Commons. He bore de country. D n large 

bore he make too. Bore many thousand pounds out of it, sapristy. 
But you come down, dear Maddame Scapulaire, I tell you something 
very nice." 

And approaching a chair. Mademoiselle Brochet shook her petti- 
coats, and sat down with a smirk and a simper, and then fell into an 
attitude of pretty languor, which might have suited Perlet in one of 
his many transformations. 

" Well, I never saw !" said Mrs. Scapulary, " these French women 
do take it easy. What is it that you want, Miss Broshay ? You see 
I am busy now looking for things." 

" Oh ! not de least hurry out of de vorld. I can wait so long as 
you please. This goot gentilman will descend and amuse me. Stand- 
ing there wid his nose over de ar moire. He put me in mind of what 
I hear one leetle boy say — he clap himself upon his ventre^ and say, 
* My belly cry cupboard !' " 

" Ha ! ha ! ha !" cried Jerry Tripe. " She's a jolly girl, upon my 

And slowly descending from his stool, he approached Mademoiselle 
Brochet, and entered into an interesting conversation with her. 

Mademoiselle Brochet, as the reader may well suppose, was not in 
the slightest degree backward, but met the advances of Mr. Tripe 
with the most perfect ease, grace, and cordiality that it is possible to 
imagine. She fluttered, she smiled, she nodded, she wriggled, she 
glanced, she twittered like a swallow feeding its young ones ; and, in 
short, a regular flirtation of a very serious character speedily com- 
menced between the English butler and the French waiting-maid, so 
that worthy Mrs. Scapulary began to find herself one too many. Her 
stern virtue, however, was not of a character to suffer her to wink at 
the tender frailties of our nature ; and descending first from the tea- 
caddy, and then from the chair, she approached Mademoiselle Brochet 
and Mr. Tripe, for the express purpose of interrupting them. The young 
lady, however, was the most perfect French woman that ever was seen, 
and seemed to have clasped on under her stays, that charming im- 
perturbable self-satisfaction from which, as from a coat of armour, all 
*'the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" turn off" innocuous. 
Even^ being interrupted in a tete-a-tete j ^could not throw her off her 


^ ^ 






axis, and she turned round to greet the widow with as sweet and sim- 
pering a smile, as she had greeted Jerry Tripe. 

" Oh ! Maddame Scapulaire," she said, " I be glad to see you 
brought down. I have one leetle secret for you — Do you ever do any 
ting against de law ?" 

"Lord have mercy, no!" cried Mrs. Scapulary. " What can the 
woman mean ?" she muttered to herself. " She always keeps me in a 
fright. Any thing again the law ? I would not do any thing again 
the law for the world." 

" Pooh ! pooh !" cried Mademoiselle Brochet, " I mean leetle ting, 
leetle ting ; not commit murder or robbery." 

Mrs. Scapulary turned as white as a sheet. 

" Lord, Mr. Tripe !" she exclaimed, " did you ever hear ? 

She makes me think of my dear defunct Scapulary." 

" Fidonc /" cried Mademoiselle in her pretty interesting way. 
" Nevare you let any body make you tink of de dead husband dat is 
gone. Awkward subject dat, Maddame Scapulaire : always tink of de 
living one dat is coming. What use to get rid of de one, and be one 
widow, unless to get de oder, and be one wife again ?" 

" Very true ! very true !" cried Jerry Tripe, squeezing her hand. 
" That is the true philosophy of the matter." 

Mademoiselle Brochet gave him a leer that scorched him to the 
back bone ; and adjusting her ringlets, with a look at the glass oppo- 
site, she went on as follows : 

" Veil, but my dear Maddame Scapulaire, de leetel vickedness dat I 
ask you about is not at all vary big. Vat I mean is de contraband. 
You ever buy de beautiful lace, de pretty silk stocken, de charmant 
gloves ? All so sheap too. No price not nothin' at all. And you, my 
dear Mr. Tripe, de beautiful silk handkerchief, de foulards magni- 
Jiques. Oh I so charmant I when you blow your nose — and a vary 
important nose it is — you feel as if you got him in a cloud, die foulard 
is so soft." 

" I shan't buy none on 'em," said Mrs. Scapulary, turning up her 
nose, and mentally resolving that if Mademoiselle Brochet troubled 
her much more, she would denounce her for a smuggler. " I shan't 
buy none on 'em. I never cheat the revenue." 

" Bah !" said Mademoiselle Brochet. 

" Fiddlestick's ends !" said Mr. Tripe. " I shouldn't mind half a 
dozen at all, mademoiselle ; and if you were to bring them yourself 
about nine o'clock up to the castle, we could just take a glass 
of cura^oa together in the pantry, and talk about all manner of 

" Oh ! but I not know de way," said Mademoiselle Brochet. 

" Oh ! it is just through the park," said Mr. Tripe. " Go over the 
little bridge here near the door, then by the stile into the park, and 
straight on. You can't miss it." 

" Oh ! but I be frighten," said Mademoiselle Brochet. "I be 
frighten to go trough de park all alone at night." 


/' ril come and meet you at the stile, my dear," said Mr. Tripe. 

"Ah!" said Mademoiselle Brochet, with a well-satisfied simper, 
" you vicked man, I tink, Mr. Tripe ; but I will trust you." 
. " Woman, dear confiding woman 1" cried Mr. Tripe. 
^' You show me de way to de stile, now^," said Mademoiselle Brochet* 
" Maddame Scapulaire, I kiss your hand. I bring you, one of dese 
days, one little ting as a present; ajolie cravatte, so fine, so fine, it- 
will go through one vedding ring. Vary nice, indeed, to tie round de treat 
— only must not tie it too tight, Madame Scapulaire — might strangle; 
you you know. Ha, ha, ha ! ha, ha, ha ! very funny, Meester Tripe." 

" I don't think it funny at all," said Mrs. Scapulary. "Never see; 
such a woman in my life !" 
~ " Dare say not,^" said Mademoiselle Brochet ; " nor I, nevare. 
Adieu, adieu !" and with a low courtesy, and with a graceful bend of; 
the head, she tripped out of the cottage, Mr. Tripe following her, and 
merely pausing to say, " don't forget the paper, my dear lady." * 

" No, no," said Mrs. Scapulary, impatiently ; " you shall have it if 
I find it ; but I'm sure the murderer took ft away with him — at least if 
it was in the grey breeches-pocket." 

Mr. Tripe was by the side of Mademoiselle Brochet in a minute : 
fie found her pausing, in delicate hesitation, at the little foot bridge) 
over the sewer and the stream which we have mentioned. Well might she 
do so indeed ; for it consisted of nothing more than two planks with- 
out a railing ; and below appeared a pool of somewhat black and 
odoriferous water, at the edge of which even a pair of ducks, who 
would have scavengered Lethe itself, stood in doubt and hesitation as> 
to whether they would venture into the dark abyss before them. 

" Suffer me to hand you over, mademoiselle," said Mr. Trip6f 
passing round her, advancing upon the bridge, and offering the tips of 
his fingers. 

Mademoiselle followed timidly and slowly, step by step ; but just 
when they had reached the middle of the bridge, w here the elasticity of 
the planks began somewhat to be felt, the young lady became ter- 
rified, and exclaiming with a nervous shriek — " Oh ! mon DieUf I shall 
tomble in," she made a violent effort to save herself by catching at Mr. 
Tripe's collar. 

It w^ould seem that she missed her mark, however, and only succeeded 
in giving the worthy butler a terrible push upon the back which at 
once overthrew his balance. With a fearful squelch the large persoA 
of Mr. Tripe descended upon the dark waters, and was for a moment 
submerged, while Mademoiselle Brochet, after running on to the other 
side, stood wringing her hands, and exclaiming, " Oh, 7non Dieu \ Oh I 
Tripe, mon cher Tripe, you are drowned, you are lost ! you are per^ 
du. Help, help!" 

Out rushed Mrs. Scapulary just as Mr. Tripe rose like Neptune front 
the bosom of the waves. His mother, had she seen him, would not havt 
Jinown her awn son: not Tyrian dye, not henna and indigo could have 
restored the somewhat silvered locks of Mr. Tripe to their original 




blackness with half the effect of the waters from which he rose. His 
face, too, his eyes were all in tracts of swarthy slime ; and the only- 
thing that, proudly overcoming all that attempted to cloud its lustre, re- 
mained in statu quo, was the notorious nose, which, like the morning 
sun scattering away the clouds of night, burst rosy through the dark- 
ness that shaded the rest of his countenance. 

" Ah, voila mon Tripe !" exclaimed Mademoiselle Brochet. " Here, 
here ! tenez, tenez ! I will pull you ashore, I will save your jolie life,'^ 
and she stretched out to the gasping butler the hook of her parasol. 

If drowning men will grasp at straws it is not wonderful that Mr. 
Tripe seized eagerly the parasol ; and had not Mademoiselle Brochet 
possessed some tolerable portion of strength the violent tug he gave 
would have pulled her in likewise. With skill, discretion, and firm- 
ness, however, she drew him towards the bank, giving him, it must be 
confessed, many an unsavoury dose of the black fluid in which he 
swam, but landing him at length safely, and then congratulating 
him most kindly upon his deliverance. 

" Ha !" cried Jerry Tripe, when he was safely seated on the grass — • 
** ha ! how could you serve me such a trick, Miss Broshay ?" 

" A treek ?" cried Mademoiselle — " I serve you no trick — you very 
near pull me into the vatare, my Tripe. Ah, good Maddame Scapu- 
laire 1 if you could but bring a john-towel we would wipe him." 

" A john-towel ?" cried Mrs. Scapulary. " A jack-towel you mean, 

g"*l" . . . . .' 

" Oh, out ! John or jack, all de same ting in Englis," cried Made- 
moiselle Brochet. " But you bring one towel, and we wipe him, for he 
is one vary dirty man." 

" I say, Mrs. Scap," said Jerry, "haven't you got a drop of some- 
what short to give us ? — I dare say you could find a glass of gin." 

" That I will, Mr. Tripe, with pleasure," said Mrs. Scapulary — for 
all people have some good point in their character, and hers was that 
of being really liberal in spirit — and away she went into the house to 
fetch the gin bottle and the towel. 

During her absence Mademoiselle did all that was in the power of 
woman to console the afflicted Mr. Tripe. 

"Ah!" she exclaimed, -'^ to see your beautiful countenance , all so 
black, vid de nose just peeping trough like a rose-bud! but you will 
soon be quite lovely again ven you have got off dis dirt. A terrible 
place this world is, nothing bote man and woman aUvays making one 
false step, and having one leetle fall. Oh, very shocking ! But we get 
up again, put on de clean clothes, wash our face and hands, and tink 
of it no more." 

The moralizing of Mademoiselle Brochet did Mr. Tripe very con- 
siderable good, and the gin of Mrs. Scapulary confirmed the beneficial 
effect. The latter sweet lady had not only brought a clean towel but 
had brought a clean mop also, which, being dipped in somewhat purer 
water than the stream afforded, was soon applied to cleanse the great 
bulk of the sufferer's person, after which the two ladies^ approaching 

184 THE commissioner; or, 

somewliat nearer, delicately wiped his face, neck, and ears. Made- 
moiselle Brochet tenderly smoothing down his knarled proboscis, which 
felt under her hand very much like a ripe fig in the sunshine — so warm, 
so soft, so smooth was that rubicund organ. 

When all this was accomplished Mr. Tripe felt himself again, and 
springing up with his usual elastic step, he declared his readiness to 
pursue his way. A few words passed between him and Mademoiselle 
Brochet, in the course of which that young lady promised to pay him 
the proposed visit with thefoulardsy at nine o'clock that night ; and 
having seen him fairly into the park, and marked well the path she was 
to follow, she took her leave with signs of sorrow, and tripped back 
into the village, while Mr. Tripe wended on his way to the castle, 
fancying himself quite a fortunate gallant. 

His lord, however, was by no means satisfied at the result of his 
mission. He stormed and stamped, and swore several large oaths ; 
but as Mr. Tripe had a strong hold upon his affections,' by the pos- 
session of all his most intimate secrets for many years, the peer did 
not resort, in his case, to either of the two means of correction which 
he occasionally had recourse to with his other domestics, namely, horse- 
whipping them heartily, or kicking them from the library out of the 
fVont door ; and his passion having worked itself off in expletives, he 
left the renowned Jerry, to seek consolation of the kind best suited to 
his tastes. 






The shades of night liad fallen over Outrun Castle ; dark and sombre 
clouds floated in the sky ; the twinkling stars veiled their light ; no 
pleasant moon lifted her lantern aloft to show the weary wayfarer his 
way ; the queen of the fairies herself had caught cold, and was sitting at 
home taking James's powders with a pocket-liandkerchief to her nose ; 
while Oberon was left to play what pranks he pleased all in tlie dark 
and nobody to look after him. The especial chamber of Mr. Fitzurse, 
which since his death had been the scene of so much merriment, was 
now as gloomy and vacant as if the funeral had actually taken place ; 
and the peer and Tom Hamilton sat together in the library, cracking 
jokes and bottles with very little loss of time. Towards half-past 
eleven, however, the viscount began to be a little fidgety. 

" I think, Tom," he said, " that I shall go to bed." 

" What ! before you've finished^ the bottle, my lord ?" cried Tom 

" Oh, we'll soon manage that, Tom,'* said the peer : " we'll have 
tumblers. It's odd, by Jingo, about that ghost. It's all nonsense I 
know, but ^" 

" Ton my life, my lord,'* said Tom Hamilton, who had his own par- 
ticular views of the matter, " I don't know ; I fancy there are few things 
more clearly proved, which we have not seen with our own eyes, than 
that ghosts have appeared at different times. Now it does not always 
require to have seen a thing oneself to believe it. I never saw Mount 
Etna, for instance ; and yet I have very little doubt that there it is as 
I see it on the map, stuck on upon one side of Sicily, like the minute 
dial at the side of a doctor's watch. I don't see why I should doubt 
the existence of a ghost or its appearance either. How many respect- 
able people have seen them ?" 

" Pooh, nonsense," cried the peer, " it's all stuff. First, people must 
show me that there is such a thing as spirit ; and then they must show 
me that the spirit is like the body ; and then they must show me that 
Mr. or Mrs. Ghost has some object in coming." 

" Oh," replied Tom Hamilton, " I don't suppose they come for 
nothing. Depend upon it, they have some object when they do come. 
We always hear that such is the case. They come to punish some 
great criminal, to discover some murder, to divulge the hiding-place of 
some treasure, or something of that kind. I recollect hearing a very" 
curious case of apparition, which nobody could make any thing of." 
'. " There was a young lady," continued Tom Hamilton, who had not the 


slightest inclination in the world to set the peer's mind at ease, "there was 
a young lady, the daughter of a gentleman whom I knew very well, who 
fell, or fancied herself, in love, at an early time of life, with a lieutenant 
in the navy. Her father was very well to do in the world, and the young 
lieutenant was not badly off; but it was agreed between all parties that it 
\ypuld be better to defer the marriage till he was a captain. So he went_ 
tp seain the Firefly, which was wrecked upon the Goodwin shortly after, 
when all hands perished. Amongst the rest who went down was poor 
Charles Clare, for such was the lieutenant's name. The thing had its 
nine-days* wonder, and was forgotten ; and Martha cried and wore 
mourning, and refused two or three elderly gentlemen. But at length 
a very pleasant fellow of the name of Bearcroft, a man of good for- 
tune, and in short, a thorough country gentleman, took a great fancy 
tp her, wooed, won, and married her, some three years after Clare's 
death. She was now about one-and-twenty ; and I recollect her both 
a very pretty girl and a very sensible woman. But there was always 
something very strange came over her from time to time. Her eyes 
would suddenly becpme fixed pn the pther side of the room, and for a 
moment or two she would seem bewildered and absent. One time I was 
watching her in this state, when her husband took me by the arm and 
said, ' Come away, Tom. She sees the figure.' As you may suppose, 
when I had him alone I asked for an explanation. Upon which he 
tpld me, that frpm time tp time ever since their marriage she had sud- 
denly seen a figure with its back turned, tpwards her, which she cpuld 
»pt get put pf her sight, dp what she wpuld — except by pne means. 
It mattered npt whether the rppm was full pf company or empty, the 
figure wpuld cpme in, and her pnly plan was tp take up a light and 
walk straight at it. This she used frequently tp dp when she was 
alpne, as she had npt the slightest fear pr nervpusness abput it, which 
is the mpst singular part pf the whple story. It used always to retreat 
as she came forward, till it got fixed against the wall; and then as 
she walked on, it remained quite still, till she was within about a yard 
of it, when it suddenly disappeared. She never saw its face, at least 
for many years, but its general appearance was that pf a stput man, iii 
a fisherman's jacket, with a glazed hat pn. She used tp talk with hei? 
husband abput it frequently ; and Bearcrpft tpld me a curipus trick 
that they had played the ghpst, but the ghpst wpuld have its pwn way,; 
and beat them. Halving asked her tp let him know whenever it 
appeared, she one evening suddenly exclaimed, ' There it is, my Ipve,. 
standing by the edge pf the table, pn the left-hand side next the dppr/ 

" Bearcrpft instantly gpt up, and by her directipns tried tp put him* 
self in the place pf the ghest. Fpr spme time she cried, ' Ypu are 
before it, ypu are befpre it, but it is still there. I can see an arm, a bit- 
of the hat.* 

" Bearcrpft went on, however, till he was just at the place where sh% 
said it stppd, when suddenly she gave a little cry pf surprise and ex- 
claimed, * How strange, it has come round before you.' 
' *' This sort of thing went on till they had been married about four 


years, and had two children ; and never were two people more happy, 
or more attached to each other. One day, however, at the end of the 
four years, Bearcroft came back from hunting, and found his wif^ 
drowned in tears. ^ ., 

" ' What is the matter, my love ?' he said, 'what has vexed you?' T 

" ' I have seen its face, Henry,' she answered, ' I have seen it»- 

" < Well,' he cried, * what like was it ?' 

" * It was Charles Clare,' she replied. * Oh, Henry, I promised ttf 
wait his return for seven years, they are over to-day, and I am sure 
he came to reproach me for forgetting my promise, and for loving 
you,' she added, casting herself upon her husband's neck, ' better thajct 
I ever loved him.' " 

" Well," exclaimed the viscount, who had looked over his shoulde? 
twice, " well, what came of it, Tom ?" 

" Why, the figure never appeared again," answered Tom Hamilton* 
but nine or ten months after, poor Mrs. Bearcroft died quite suddenly 
and unexpectedly." 

" Ring the bell, Tom, there's a good fellow," said the peer, " and 
stir the fire. I'll have glass of cura9oa, and go to bed." 

Jerry Tripe was some time appearing, but when at length he did 
come the peer took two glasses of curacoa instead of one, and ap- 
parently very much refreshed, made his worthy butler light him up 

" Take care of yourself, Tom," he cried, " take care of yourself* 
There's lots of good stufi" going, so keep up your courage, alid if you 
meet with the ghost, floor him." - 

Tom Hamilton smiled, stirred the fire, took another glass of win^ 
and then gazed into the blaze, listening for the dying away of all 
sounds in the castle, and muttering to himself, " We will soon see who 
is this tricksy spirit. It is not poor .Jane, for in her mood this morning 
the whole truth would have come out ; but I suspect much it is Madame 
Sally, playing a trick upon her companion and Fitzurse. By Jove, if 
it is I will have a kiss for my pains. All's quiet now, I think," and 
he listened for a moment or two ; but before he rose from his chair, ^ 
distant door banged to, and Tom Hamilton sat down again. 

He would not take any more wine, for fear of the consequences, 
and he proceeded to ask himself, " I wonder, after all, if there are 
such things as ghosts ?" He put it in a quiet, calculating, philosophi* 
cal mood, without the slightest application, at first, to the present 
case. He had never felt the slightest apprehension of such unsubstan- 
tial visitants in his life, but he very soon convinced himself, as he sat 
by the fire and pondered over the matter, that the arguments which he 
had used to the viscount, more as a joke than any thing else, were not 
altogether without foundation. 

" After all, there must be ghosts," he said, " not only from what we 
have heard, but from what the Bible tells us. It's a long time since I 
read my Bible, alas, but I recollect Very well the ghost of Samuel 
appearing to Saul," ; :* 


Tom Hamilton looked into the fire and meditated. 

" It can only be upon great occasions that they come, however,'* he 
continued, after pondering over the matter for a while — " It can only 
be upon great occasions, and nine cases out of ten are mere humbug. 
I should like to see a ghost too — Devilish funny it must be. I wonder 
•what the feeling would be ? Take a good deal to frighten me, I fancy. 
Not a bad way of punishing a bad man, after all, for any one whom he 
has ill-treated, to come back and worry him night after night. I have 
heard that this rakehelly old lord treated his sister monstrously ill, and 
«ome people say, killed her by his bad usage, all because she fell in 
love with a young cornet of dragoons without a sixpence in his pocket. 
Ton my soul, I shouldn't wonder if it were her ghost after all." 

Tom Hamilton paused and listened again. Now, dear reader, there 
IS something in the very act of listening attentively, when all is silence 
round us, that promotes fear. The nerves which conduct from the 
tympanum of the ear to the brain become surcharged with nervous 
fluid ; the brain itself, in the neighbourhood of the auricular tubes, is 
stimulated and excited, a quivering sort of vibration takes place through 
the whole mass of the sensorium, which, running rapidly along all the 
great railroads of the human frame, communicate a certain degree of 
trembling down to the very tips of the toes, but especially about the 
prsecordia and the hypochondriac region. It is quite right that the 
reader should know how it all goes on ; for the natural philosophy part 
of the thing is quite as good as the moral, and in very close connexion 
with it. 

Tom Hamilton listened attentively and long, as a hare does when 
she stops in the midst of a fallow. For two minutes and a-half 
all was silence ; but then there was a sudden foot-fall, and Tom 
actually started. One might have seen him blush through his black 
whiskers at finding himself growing nervous ; so he put forth his hand 
towards the wine. The five-fingered messenger passed the claret, and 
the sherry, and the madeira, but laid hold upon the port — a good, sub- 
stantial, vigorous, courageous juice," which we would advise all readers 
to apply to when called upon to do battle with a ghost. Tom took a 
claret-glass full, and laughed at himself. 

" These d n servants," he said, " do just what they like in this 

house ; sit up junketting and carousing long after everybody else is 
gone to bed, and spend the peer's money right and left. I wonder the 
house isn't a lying-in hospital. I shouldn't wonder if this whole ghost 
story were got up by them just to cover their goings on." 

The footsteps died away, and Tom began to listen again. Thus 
passed some minutes more, and then, all being silent, he rose, walked 
slowly to the door, opened it, and looked out. A lamp that was hung 
in the passage was blinking sleepily, but there seemed to be nothing 
else with an eye open in the house. Tom Hamilton looked back, and 
considered whether he should put the lights out ; but he went back and 
did it, and then took his way with a quiet step along the passage. 

Fear is a very odd thing in its way ; not at all difficult to be got 
hold of if one tries hard and resolutely : but the most expeditious and 


excellent method of arriving at it is, to be afraid of being afraid. The 
man who begins to think whether he shall feel fear or not, may be sure 
that he has got hold of it by the tips of the fingers. Tom Hamilton 
was in a little bit of a twitter, it must be confessed, but he was not 
one to give way to any thing of the kind ; and, consequently, marching 
on quietly, he approached the foot of the great staircase. It was a 
wide, old-fashioned, open contrivance, built upon the principle that we 
generally avoid in modern houses, of combining magnificence of ap- 
pearance with convenience, rendering the ascent not too rapid, and 
giving the climber room to set his foot. First came a long, straight 
flight of steps, not more than four inches high, with a balustrade as 
broad as a dining-table on one side, and tall, dark, oak panels, sur- 
rounded by carved garlands of flowers, on the other, while on a centre 
pier between those panels was fixed a bracket, bearing an old helmet, 
belonging formerly to some distinguished and defunct Fitzurse, The 
stairs themselves were at the least six feet wide, and the banisters were 
formed of squat pillars of oak, somewhat perforated by the worm. At 
the top of the first flight was a landing-place, with the same banisters 
carried round as a balustrade. The length might be eighteen feet, and 
then again began another flight, ascending at the same dignified and 
easy angle as the first. This led up to another landing-place, at the 
top of which branched off", at right angles with each other, two long 
and wide passages. That to the left was in itself a splendid room, 
with four tall windows and broad piers on the one hand, and a long row 
of family portraits on the other, only interrupted by two richly-carved 
doors, leading into rooms no longer tenanted. 

At the farther end of this picture gallery, opposite to the staircase 
were two more doors, one leading to a little chapel, or oratory, 
and the other being that by which Laura had obtained entrance 
on the preceding night. The second passage we have mentioned led 
past the room of our pretty little heroine, being in fact, the corridor 
down which she usually made her voyages of discovery ; and the whole 
of this part of the building was considered by the servants in general 
as haunted ground. The picture gallery, however, having been pointed 
out by Mr. Fitzurse as the actual scene of ghostly interference in his 
private affairs, thither Tom Hamilton bent his steps, and ensconced 
himself in one of the deep door-cases we have mentioned, ascertaining, 
in the first instance, that the door was locked. 

So far he had been lighted on his way by the faint twinkling of the 
half-extinguished lamp in the hall below, though, to say truth, (without 
meaning a pun,) the greater part of his expedition had been a matter 
of feeling. For a quarter of an hour he waited in solemn silence. He 
thought it was an hour at least ; but during all that time he could catch 
a faint glimmer from the hall below reflected on the balustrade on the 
top of the stairs. Suddenly, however, the light became redder, and then 
as suddenly disappeared, after which came a strong oleaginous odour, 
not the most agreeable to the nerves of the snout, showing that the 
lamp, for want of oil, like a minister with a bankrupt exchequer, l^ad 
voluntarily resigned its office* 


Tom Hamilton thought it very mipleasant, and rather unfair of 
the lamp, and began to entertain doubts as to whether the ghost 
woujd appear. Turning his eyes from the direction in which the light 
had lately shone, he looked to where the windows were, and, though 
he could very well hear them as they rattled under the rude touch of 
the burglar-wind, and as the rain pattered against them, yet he could 
fiee nothing — no, not even the line of the frame or the lead-work. 
' Tom Hamilton began to think his expedition somewhat silly. <' J 
never heard," he thought, " of the man who went out to seek for a 
ghost finding one in my life. It is always those that don't want them 
who meet with them. How the wind blows and rattles ! I've a great 
mind to go to bed." 

Just as the thought crossed his mind, he heard a very beautiful 
voice — low and plaintive — coming he knew not whence, and seeming 
to float in the air above him, singing to an air he had never heard 
before, the following words: — 

ghost's bono. 

** Stay, stay, why so soon ? 

Patience wins what hope foretold; 
Down the sun and up the moon 
Rise fond thoughts from times of old. 

** Impatience ruins joy, 

Earnest truth will brook delay; 
Eager youth breaks life's first toy — 
Those who would enjoy, must stay." 

"D — nit! this is very odd!" said Tom Hamilton to himself. 
** What the devil can be the meaning of this ? That is neither milk- 
maid nor dairymaid, housemaid nor housekeeper. Hang it, this ig 
enough to make one nervous! I'll stay and see what comes of it how- 

He did stay; and about five minutes more elapsed, while listening 
with all his ears, and holding his breath as long as he could, he heard 
only two things — the rattling of the windows and the beating of his 
own heart: and, if curiosity and a sense of shame had not prevented 
him, he M'ould certainly have found his way down stairs, and into his 
own room, as fast as possible. At length he thought he heard another 
sound, a sort of low moan ; but he soon convinced himself that it 
must have been the sighing of the wind, and he resolved that he would 
be steady. A moment after, a sudden light broke along the passage, 
but disappeared so instantaneously that he concluded it must have pro- 
ceeded from a flash of lightning dimmed by the rain. No thunder, 
however, followed ; and he looked eagerly up and down the dark gal- 
lery, saying to himself — 

'' By Jove, the ghost must be coming at last. 'Pon my life I feel 
Very cold and creepy !" 

Next instant there was decidedly a sound, a very ghostly sound indeed. 
It was tap, tap, tap, as if a soft, and not very substantial, knuckle had 


been applied to a door. If it was any signal, there was no answer; 
and again there was a tap, tap, tap. Tom Hamilton listened with all 
his ears, and, in about two minutes after, heard a low rustling, shifting 
noise gently coming along from the top of the staircase. Book-musliu 
would have made it, but there would have been a difficulty in pro- 
ducing it by any other instrument. It became more and more distinct, 
approaching nearer and nearer, without any foot-fall that he could dis^ 
tinguish. Tom's heart beat like fury — many a brave man's heart 
would do so under similar circumstances. The castle clock struck 
one with its loud, deep, solemn tone, as if to say " Beware!" at that 
very moment. But Tom had set his life upon a cast, and he woul^ 
stand the hazard of the die. 

" Now or never, Madame Ghost," he thought, as the rustle swept 
close to him ; and, darting forward with outstretched arms, be made t 
clutch in the direction of the sound. 

" By Jove, it's muslin 1" exclaimed Tom, who had caught hold of the 
tail of a gown. 

" Atrappe pardi !'* cried a voice. " I will not be stop, sair !" 

And at the same time the chivalrous ghost-hunter received a sub- 
stantial straightforward blow in the face, which laid him flat upon his 

At the same moment a bright light shone suddenly through the 
gallery, and Tom, as he struggled up, saw two female figures instead of 
one — the first clothed in white muslin, and evidently running away from 
him as fast as her legs could carry her ; the other, pale as the wan 
moonlight, clothed in the glistening grey satin-gown and black mantilla, 
which had been described to him, gliding solemnly along at some dis- 
tance in the other direction 

The light instantly disappeared again, and the voice which he had 
heard singing, pronounced — ** Meddle not, Vain fools ! meddle not !" 

Tom Hamilton trembled from head to foot, and had no power to 
follow his friend in the muslin, so struck and overawed was he by the 
other apparition which he had beheld. Creeping down stairs as fast as 
ever his limbs would carry him, he made his way to the library, where 
to his joy and satisfaction he found the fire still burning brightly. 
Having no match or paper at hand, he thrust one of the candles into 
the fire, and nearly melted one half of the wax before he could light it, 
so terribly did he shake. Then pouring himself out half a tumbler of 
port, he drank it off, and took a long deep breath. 

" This is folly !" he exclaimed. " This is cowardice ! I have a 
great mind to rouse the whole house ! — But yet there can be no doubt 
of that other figure ! — That was no living being! And the voice, too ! — 
I'll go back again with a light ! I'll not be intimidated this way by 
ghost or devil ! I'll go back with a light !" 

And leaving one of the candles burning on the table, he took the 
other in his hand, and boldly marched up stairs, looking all the way 
around him, however, as he went. With rather more haste than was 
needful he made his way into the gallery, and approached the scene of 


his adventure. But nothing was now to be seen. All was quiet and 
still. On the floor, indeed, lay a piece of muslin, which he had torn 
out of the gown of his somewhat striking friend, when he fell under the 
direct application of her gentle hand. But nothing else was there. 
And taking it up, Tom Hamilton muttered — 

" We will identify the jade by this to-morrow. But that other 
=iigure ! It is very strange ! So pale, so care-worn, and yet so very 
beautiful ! I wonder which is her picture ?" 

And carrying the light along from one portrait to another, he paused 
at length in surprise and awe before an exquisitely beautiful represen- 
tation of a young lady, some seventeen or eighteen years of age, in 
the very dress he had beheld. 

" Perhaps, after all," said Tom Hamilton to himself, " I had better 
not say any thing about this affair ?" And with this prudent resolution 
he walked down stairs again, and went to bed. 











" Let us go," cried Worrel. 

** Let us go," cried the chevalier, 

" Let us go," cried Mr. Longmore. " There is no saying where we 
may find her, or hear of her, or get some clue to where she is." 

"Andiam, andiain, andiamor they all exclaimed together, as if they 
were singing in the Marriage of Figaro ; and as the reader may very 
likely inquire where they all showed such an inclination to go to, we 
will tell him that it was to a great ball at the Mansion-house. 

Did you ever catch a fish, dear reader, and, thinking him somewhat 
too small to serve those purposes for which the universal tiger, man, 
takes the warm life of almost every animated being, except, indeed, his 
fellow blood-spill ers, did you ever gently unhook him and drop him 
back again into the clear stream ? If you have, you have doubtless 
marked that, after an instant of apparent bewilderment, he darts away 
with a relieved and joyous whirl, as if all sense of his wound was over- 
whelmed by the happiness and satisfaction of finding himself in his own 
element again. Such were much the sensations of Worrel at Aat 
moment : he could have skipped, he could have danced, he could have 
jumped over the chairs, he could have gone to the opera, to a theatre, 
to a concert a la Musard^ if such a thing had been thep invpntedr 
Vauxhall was nothing to his powers of endurance \ Jie could have under- 
gone Sadler's Wells. So he and Mr. Longmore dressed themselves \\\ 
becoming attire, and accompanied the Chevalier de Lunatico towards 
the Mansion-house, for the grand bj^ll to which Mr. Longmore had 
some time before received an invitation in the country. The Strand, 
Temple-bar, Fleet-street, were speedily passed ; LudgatCrhill, St. Paul's 
Churchyard, and Cheapside, were gone through ; and at length the 
Mansion-house was reached, and the three gentlemen ushered in by 
servants rivalling in lac^ and embroidery the household of the sove^ 
reign. A tremendous noise was the first thing to announce to the che- 
valier his being actually upon the point of entering an English balU 
room. He might have mistaken it indeed for one of the lower stories 
of the Tower of Babel, just after the confusion, or rather in the midst 

C.«-^NO, VII, o 


of it, had it not been for the twanging of innumerable harps, the scrap- 
ing of an infinity of fiddles, and all those other instruments which in 
the hands of ordinary performers produce a noise called, by courtesy, 
music. He thought all this bad enough ; but when he saw a multitude 
of men and women shaking their limbs in the most grotesque manner 
possible to the clatter of the fiddles and harps, and looking perfectly 
self-satisfied all the time that they panted, and sweated, and struggled 
as if they were condemned to hard-labour for life, his very natural excla- 
mation was — 

" Heaven and earth, I shall never have tickets enough for the half 
of them ! I must issue a general summons." 

" Nay, nay, my dear chevalier,** said Worrel, who heard a part of 
this speech, and had remarked that the distribution of the cheva- 
lier's billets-doux did not produce the most soothing efiect upon those 
who were destined to receive them — " Nay, nay, my dear chevalier, do 
not be hasty ; wait till the ball is over, and you will find all these people 
very sane and composed, I can assure you." 

" What ! not that young lady," cried the chevalier, " who is grinning 
in such a diabolical manner at the mop-headed man who is standing 
beside her ?" 

" She is only trying to show her teeth," said Worrel, " which are 
fine and white, as you see." 

" Oh, I understand," said the chevalier, " you buy women in London 
as you buy horses, by the teeth, do you ? And she is in the market, I 

" Something like it," replied Worrel, " I am afraid." 

" Well," said the chevalier, " I should be afraid of her biting, by her 
showing her fangs so. But you don't mean to say that that man is 
sane who is coming forward now, hopping upon one toe, and lifting up 
the other foot, as if he were about to kick a foot-ball, or the posterior 
part of an unpleasant companion ?" 

" Quite, I can assure you," replied Worrel : " he's a great mathe- 

" My dear friend," said Mr. Longmore, interposing, for now that the 
clouds of grief began to be dispelled, the sun of the worthy gentleman's 
good opinion of himself once more shone forth — " My dear friend, be 
not rash, as Worrel says, in judging of the pleasures and pastimes of 
others. The sport or recreation of dancing, however absurd it may 
appear to persons not accustomed to it, is one of the most rational and 
beneficial in the world. In the first place, it exercises the limbs of 
persons very frequently condemned to sedentary employments ; it cir- 
culates the blood, it teaches the tendons to play easily, the muscles to 
expand and contract with the greatest rapidity ; it also produces, in 
two manners, a general and gentle motion of the nervous fluid — in the 
first place, by softly shaking the sensorium, and in the next place, by 
bringing the two sexes into a state of mutual attraction — that is to say, 
where the poles of the two parties are properly electrified." 

" That is what I should much doubt that they ever are," said the 


** One must be positive, and the other not negative," said Worrel, 

" How so, how so ?" said Mr. Longmore, who had no idea of a joke 
upon electricity or any other serious subject. " What I mean is, che 
valier, that it is a great promoter of love." 

" A great trial of love, I should think," said the chevalier ; " for 
nothing surely can be more destructive of the tender passion than to 
see those we love making fools of themselves. But don't suppose that 
we have no dances in the moon ; on the contrary, we dance one half of 
our existence there. Our minister for foreign affairs always receives 
an ambassador from friendly powers in what we call a minuet de la 
cour, through the mazes of which they lead each other till they get into 
the quick step in the end, which is sometimes a gavotte, sometimes an 
Irish jig, sometimes shuffle-and-cut, and sometimes the Highland fling. 
But the two last are generally considered vulgar terminations, and were 
introduced by a minister who had something of the merry-andrew in 
his nature, and was such a hand at the game of overreaching, that one 
day, having nothing else to do, he overreached himself. But who is 
this very stately personage approaching?" 

" This is the lord mayor,'* said Mr. Longmore, " an old friend 
of mine. I will introduce you, chevalier," and taking his two 
friends up, he made them known in due form to the chief magistrate 
of the city. 

Poor Worrel passed almost without notice, but the peculiar charm 
which the chevalier had about him made the great man pay him the 
most devoted attention, and open his heart to him at once. 

" I don't know what country you come from, chevalier," he said, 
" but one thing is certain — England is the first country in the world, 
London is the first city of England, and I am the first magistrate of 
London. I have done it all myself, chevalier — I have done it all myself. 
When first I came to this here city, 1 wheeled a barrow." 

" It is one of the things I most admire in the constitution of Eng- 
land," said the chevalier, " that whatever be a man's original rank and 
station in life, he can rise to the very highest offices and position in 
society, by genius, perseverance, and virtue." 

" A word in your ear, my dear chevalier," said the mayor — " that's 
what we tell the world, but there's a great deal of humbug in them 
assertions. Genius makes its way once in twenty millions of times ; 
perseverance, after having tried it through a long life, is still a clerk in 
a merchant's office, and virtue thinks she'll be obliged to go upon the 
town for bread to eat. No, no ; a fortunate spec, a lucky hit, habits of 
saving, the accumulation of money, a loud tongue, a bold face, and a 
good deal of talk about honesty and liberality, these are the things that 
get on in London. Look upon every thing here as a matter of barter, 
and you may do any thing that you please. Be as ostentatious as ever 
you like, but never be ostentatious but when it will pay. Be charitable, 
and subscribe to all sorts of institutions : it's buying in the funds of public 
opinion, which give better interest than any others that I know of. 
But never think of giving away half a crown without there's somebody 

196 THE commissioner; or, 

to see it. As a magistrate, be as rigid and stern, as patient and atten- 
tive, as considerate and as careful as you like when the newspaper 
reporters are in the justice-room ; and as a politician, be as liberal as 
it is possible to be in public speeches and declamations — assert the 
interests of the many, take up the cause of the oppressed, but grind 
your workmen and your labourers in private, get a percentage of every 
man, and if you have once nailed a man to an undertaking or a contract, 
keep him to it, though it break him and send his wife and children to 
the work-house. No, no, chevalier, you have not hit it at all. What 
you mean is, that any man in England can get on who has cunning and 
knowledge of the world, and may rise from the handles of the barrow 
to the hand of the baronet. Then all the people who would have 
kicked him if he had said a word to them in his former station, 
will be glad to come to a ball like this, and eat his ices and drink his 
champagne. I flatter myself I've got all the fashionable people in 
London here to-night.** 

" They look like it,** said the chevalier, " but I think I must go and 
make acquaintance with some of them ;" and so saying he moved away 
from a gentleman who had sunk himself not a little in his opinion, and 
returned to Mr. Longmore and Worrel who were waiting for him at 
some distance. 

A few minutes more had elapsed, and the chevalier had just asked who 
was a handsome, dark, well-dressed girl, who was swimming gracefully 
through the room on the arm of a fine conntish-looking foreigner, 
whom he expected to hear designated as the Prince of Gazzaladra 
at the least, and Worrel had just informed him that she was a 
fashionable French milliner at the west end of the town, and the gen- 
tleman her stepfather, when, turning his head towards the lord mayor 
again, he suddenly saw his lordship receive most reverently a person 
whose features were not at all unknown to him. There, actually there, 
in the Mansion-house, dressed in fashionable evening costume, were the 
whey-coloured whiskers, the sheep-like eyes, the half-vacant, half- vicious 
countenance, and the somewhat ungainly form of the Honourable Henry 
Frederick Augustus Fitzurse, with a small black patch in the middle of 
his forehead ! The chevalier instantly pointed him out to Worrel, mak- 
ing a sign not to say any thing to Mr. Longmore, who was at that mo- 
ment holding an interesting conversation with a young lady beside him. 

" I will go and kick him,'' said Worrel in a low voice. 

** No,** cried the chevalier, " no, leave him to me, and I will take 
care that he meets with his deserts. You look after Mr. Longmore, 
and prevent him from meddling, while I speak a word in the mayor's 

Thus saying, he watched the moment when Mr. Fitzurse turned away, 
and approaching the civic magistrate, with his easy and mellifluous 
tone he observed — a slight touch of sarcasm curling his nose and 
elevating his upper lip— 

" I thought you said, my lord, that you had all the fasnionable people 
in London here . Pray, do you know well the young person who has 
'ust left you?" 



" The young person, sir ?" said the lord mayor. "He is the 
Honourable Henry Frederick Augustus Fitzurse Do you know him ?'* 

" I have seen the person before," replied the chevalier. " But to 
my mind he looks very much like one of the water-side clerks of the 
West India docks." 

The lord mayor stared and turned pale, while the chevalier, after a 
moment's pause, proceeded — 

" If your lordship knows him to be what he represents himself to be, 
all well and good ; but " 

" I don't know him absolutely," said the lord mayor, *' but I sent a 
card to the house of his father, who dealt with me when " 

*' Oh, then you never saw him," exclaimed the chevalier. " Well, if 
you will send for the Morning Post of last Wednesday, you will see that 
the Honourable Henry Augustus Frederick Fitzurse was shot dead in 

a duel near Outrun Castle, and this person must be But I leave you 

to form your own conclusion." 

" An impostor !" cried the mayor. 

" It's very true," said a gentleman who stood near : " I saw his death 
in the papers myself." 

" And I read an account of the coroner's inquest," added a third. 

" An impostor ! an impostor ! an impostor !" cried they all at once. 

" Turn him out I" shouted the mayor. " Ladies and gentlemen, don't 
be alarmed ! There's an impostor in the room ; but we'll soon turn 
him out." 

Ten ladies shrieked and one fainted, while five hundred voices 
repeated, in five hundred different tones, the word ** Impostor !" 

" Sir, you are an impostor," said the mayor, striding up to Mr. 

" Im-pos-tor !" cried Mr. Fitzurse in his peculiar drawl. " What do 
you mean by that, you old humbug ?" 

" An impostor, sir, I mean — an impostor 1" cried the mayor. " You 
are not Mr. Fitzurse — you were killed in a duel five days ago. You 
are an impostor, sir ! Get out ! get out, this minute ! Servants, turn 
him out. Send for the officers !" 

" Oh, officers!" cried Mr. Fitzurse ; " it's time to be off then, I don't 
like quod. I'll make you pay for this, you old humbug, some day." 

" Kick him out !" cried the mayor — " kick him out !" 

The servants rushed fwvvard, but Mr. Fitzurse turned towards the 
door and ran for it. He escaped not, however, what is termed scot-free, 
for he had a long line to pass through, and every one as he went 
shouted " Impostor !" and gave him a push. He turned fiercely at one, 

looked like a crocodile at another, d d a third, cursed a fourth, and 

spat in the face of a fifth : upon which he received a glass of pine-apple 
cream right in his eye, which carried him straight through the door, 
to the top of the stairs. Down he ran as hard as he could go, while 
the chevalier and Worrel stood cracking their sides with laughter, and 
Mr. Longmore turned round and asked what was the matter. 

"Nothing, nothing," said the lord mayor, who had by this time 
come back again close to where the philosopher stood, "only an im* 


poster, my dear sir, only an impostor. Some lacky or some shopman 
who has chosen to take the name and use the card of the son of my 
friend, Lord Outrun, the Honourable Frederick Augustus Henry 
Fitzurse. Now we know that it can't be he, for he was shot in a duel 
I understand." 

" To be sure, to be sure," replied Mr. Longmore, " my yoimg cousin 
Worrel shot him, and I can't help thinking — although I was a little 
angry at first, because I had a scheme in my head — that it was a very 
good thing too, for he was a sad loose fellow ; and, 'pon my honour, 
now I think of it coolly, I can't help believing that my poor girl Laura 
would have had a very unpleasant time of it." 

Just at that moment up came a portly gentleman, with a large and 
globe-shaped stomach, small thighs and legs cased in black breeches 
and silk stockings, a dangling watch-chain as thick as a cable, a snow- 
white waistcoat of ample dimensions, and a bright blue coat with 
resplendent gilt buttons. The top of his head was bald, the rest was 
powdered, and on his fine, open, jovial countenance appeared smiles of 
perfect self-satisfaction — smiles which hung peculiarly about the lips, 
like merry porters round a door by which came in and went out many 
a pleasant thing. 

" Ah, my dear Longmore," he cried, taking both the natural philo- 
sopher's hands, " I am delighted to see you. When came you from 
the country ? And above all things, what brings you to such a scene 
as this — you who are busied in such important works, while we think of 
nothing but getting money ? ' Quserenda pecunia primum, virtus post 
nummos.' What brings you to a scene, I say, of such gay dissipation 
as this ? ' Cur in theatrum, Cato severe venisti ? an ideo tantum 
veneras ut exires ?' " 

" Why, I have come looking for my daughter," said Mr. Longmore, 
" whom I lost when Ivy Hall was burnt down : every body thought she 
was dead." 

" Ay, so I heard, so I heard," replied his friend, " and I wrote a 
small piece of poetry upon her unfortunate fate — * Dolor ipse disertum 
fecerat ;' but I burnt it this morning, having had a slight intimation 
of her being still in existence." 

" Indeed !" cried Mr. Longmore, pricking up his long ears, and his 
very pigtail curling with delight. " Worrel, chevalier, do you hear 
what my friend Mr. Alderman Rotundity says ? Allow me, Rotundity, 
to introduce to you my cousin Worrel, to whom I have promised Laura 
if ever we find her. My friend, the Chevalier de Lunatico. Chevalier, 
Mr. Alderman Rotundity, a great English merchant, and, let me add, 
one of the most classical scholars in the kingdom. He has heard some- 
news of Laura! It may prove a clue, my dear friends, it may prove a 
clue. Forgive me, my dear Rotundity, for my agitation on this 

" Oh, I can feel for you, I can feel for you, my dear Longmore," 
replied Mr. Rotundity — " * Quid dulcius hominum generi a natura 
datum est quam sui cuique liberi.' But I'll tell you how we will 
arrange it all — I will give you a clue — I will help you in your search ; 


but it nuist be in my own way. You know my country-house is within 
twelve miles of Outrun — I came up only this morning — and before I set 
out, while the carriage was at the door, I had a very interesting conver- 
sation with a young lady who, as I tell you, gave me a hint that my 
pretty little friend Laura was still in the land of the living. I go down 
again to-morrow morning — you must go down with me, or join me there 
directly. Laura is not in London, but is certainly safe. How she 
happens to be so, I cannot tell — * Causa latet, vis est notissima.' Come 
down to me, I say, and we will soon find her. I must see yom* two 
friends with you — I will take no denial. Chevalier, I must positively 
introduce you to my sister. Miss Rotundity — allow me to say she is 
one of the cleverest and most scientific women of the present day. I 
am nothing to her. I merely cultivate the lighter and more graceful 
branches of knowledge, she plunges into the deep stream. I will take 
no refusal — I shall expect you at dinner ; and in the meanwhile, Mr. 
Longmore, be prepared soon to find your daughter ; but at the same 
time do not suffer yourself to become too elated — ' Decet affectus animi 
neque se nimium erigere, nee subjacere serviliter.' '* 

Mr. Longmore promised to come, and Mr. Alderman Rotundity 
turned to bestow his classicality upon some one else. 

200 THE commissioner; or, 




The Chevdlier de Lurtatico did not quit the ball*room at the Mansion- 
house without distributing a considerable number of his polite invita- 
tions ; for, notwithstanding all that Worrel and Mr. Longmore had 
been able to say in regard to dancing, he could not help looking upon 
it as a very lunatic amusement , and when it became farther enriched 
by any great absurdity, he felt himself fully justified, in summoning the 
performer thereof to his proper sphere. 

One excellent gentleman, who had been formed by nature upon 
the model and in the proportions of a badger, but who kept whirl- 
ing, and whisking, and pirouetting during the whole night, thinking 
all the time that he was exciting the admiration of the numerous 
spectators, while in fact he was convulsing them with laughter, was 
the first object of the chevalier's attentions. This personage received 
the billet with a graceful bow and a well-pleased smile, thinking 
that he owed the invitation entirely to his personal attractions ; and the 
chevalier then passed across to a lady who had been dancing with the 
most frantic vehemence, and introduced himself in his peculiarly grace- 
ful and insinuating manner. She was a married woman of about forty- 
five years of age, the mother of seven daughters with long, flaxen 
ringlets. Having arrived at that amplifying age, she had taken advan- 
tage of it to the utmost extent — so that, as she skipped and bounded 
through the dance, one might see the fat wallop and shake, not alone 
underneath the yellow satin dress with which she had enriched her 
charms, but also in the colossal beauties which she had exposed, in no 
niggardly spirit, to the eyes of admiring thousands. Small drops of 
perspiration lay upon her damask cheek like morning dew upon a 
peony ; and, as she was really a good-humoured soul, she took the 
chevalier's billet quite in good part, and said she would be very happy 
of the honour if she was not otherwise engaged. After dealing with 
several others in the same way, the chevalier ventured to approach a 
lady with whom he justly feared he might have some sort of trouble. 
She was the exact reverse of the last motherly figurante we have 
just spoken of, having past nearly fifty summers in a state of single 

Butchers and such scientific people inform us that, for a certain length 
of time, the calf feeds upon its sweetbread ; and whether this lady had 
ever, in the course of her terrestrial metempsychosis, occupied a vituline 
state I cannot tell, but she seemed, certainly, to have very little sweet- 


bread left ; and the secretion of the spleen was decidedly more abundant 
than the pancreatic juice. There is nothing like a scientific description, 
reader, to make you understand what we mean. However, the pro- 
cess seemed to have gone farther than the sweetbread ; for the flesh 
appeared to have suffered under the corrosion of the spirit ; so that a 
proper concatenation of mop-sticks, ornamented with a barber's block 
at the top, would have made as good a woman, at any time, as the lady 
in question. Nevertheless, there she was — dressed out in white satin, 
with a red velvet toque, and a bird-of-paradise feather, several strings 
of pearls set off" to the greatest advantage by the white and yellow skin 
of her camelopardine neck, and a pair of diamond bracelets hanging 
loose upon either skinny arm. Notwithstanding the dangers of such a 
proceeding — and though, as Worrel observed, one might hear her 
bones rattle as she capered — she was going through all the antics of a 
dance then in fashion, called the " The Lancers," and displaying her 
osteology as if she had been bound, by her office, to illustrate the loves 
of the triangles. In a momentary pause, the chevalier glided up to her 
side, paid her some graceful compliments upon her agility at her time 
of life, and then slipped the summons into her hand, beating his re- 
treat as quickly as possible, both in order to escape the coming storm, 
and to accompany Worrel and Mr. Longmore, who were preparing to 
depart. The lady gave him a tender leer, and then turned her eyes 
upon the summons, screamed, called him a brute, sobbed, gasped, 
and fainted. But the chevalier had performed his office with so much 
discretion and dexterity that nobody had even perceived he had 
addressed the lady at all, and he had departed from the ball-room 
before she had voice or power to say what had offended her. 

A number of persons were going away from the Mansion-house at 
this time, and there was such a crush of carriages, whipping of horses, 
shouting of servants, such a screaming of ladies who were getting 
pinched in the furious contention of coachmen, and such a cursing of 
gentlemen who were exhorting, with violent execrations, the said 
coachmen to behave properly, that it was quite impossible for the 
chevalier and his companions to find their vehicle. 

" A terrible scene, isn't it, chevalier ?" said Mr. Longmore, after 
they had escaped into Cheapside. 

" Yes, indeed," replied the chevalier ; " we are not quite mad enough 
in the moon to suffer such things as this. I think we must have some 
of your police officers up to our sphere to show them how to manage 
better ; but as I did not come down to summon blockheads, I must 
leave the matter as it is for the present." 

' While he was speaking, one of those unfortunate beings who wander 
through the streets of the British metropolis — the class in which 
there is more misery of every kind than perhaps in any other body of 
human beings — misery of the mind, and of the heart, and of the body, 
remorse, disease, hunger, disgust of self, enmity with the world, me- 
mory's agony, and futurity's despair, extinction of hope here and 
hereafter, and horror and anguish in the very fire of passion. One of 
those most miserable and most to be pitied approached the party, and, 

202 THE commissioner; or, 

selecting the young man as the most liable to temptation, said a word 
of invitation to him as he went by. 

Shrink not, reader, I am not going to ^vrite one word or to dwell upon 
one scene which may call up the blush upon the cheek of innocence, or 
render this book unfit for the eye of the holiest virtue. But to you I 
will use the words which the chevalier addressed to his two companions, 
when he stopped to speak with the poor wretch, and they told hini that 
his curiosity might lead him into danger. 

" Fear not, my dear friends," he said — " I have my mission ;" and 
so say I to you, reader, / have my mission, 

" I will join you, I will join you by-and-by," added the chevalier ; 
and turning round to speak with the woman, he asked her where she 

" Come with me and I will show you," she said, affecting that awful 
tone of blandishment which is more repellant from such meretricious 
lips than curses and abuse. 

" Very well," said the chevalier, and walking on, side by side with 
her, without the slightest fear of his reputation — which being, indeed, 
more lunatic than terrestrial, was not very likely to suffer — he passed 
through numerous alleys and by-streets to a mean, evil-looking house, 
where he was soon seated, face to face, with the unhappy woman who 
had brought him thither. A wretched-looking serving-wench of eleven or 
twelve years of age quitted the room as they entered ; and there was a 
cradle in the corner apparently with an infant in it, for once or twice 
there was a low, pining cry. The girl who sat before him had once been 
beautiful ; and time, alas ! had had no share in spoiling her bloom of 
loveliness, for twenty summers had certainly not passed over her head ; 
and yet the eye was haggard, the cheek tlun and wan, and there was 
a quivering about the nether lip, as if the rebellious features would fain 
have refused the harlot's smile they wore. 

" And now, my poor girl," said the chevalier, after gazing at her for 
a moment, " put aside your imhappy trade for the present, and tell me 
what and who you are, and how you came into this situation. I come 
not here with any of the purposes you may fancy, and you must tell 
me the truth, whether you like it or not ; for even at this instant I see 
into your heart, and shall know in a moment whether you are deceiving 
me or not." 

" I think you do, indeed," replied the girl, " for I feel an inclina- 
tion to tell you, which I never thought to have towards any person on 
earth ; and I will speak the whole truth, indeed. But first let me 
quiet the baby ;" and bringing forth the cradle she rocked it with her 
foot, while she went on — 


" I am the most wretched of human beings, but still I have but very 
little to tell, for I suppose every one of us is just in the same case. 
However, my father is an honest, hard-working man — at least he was, 
poor fellow, for he is not so now — in a pleasant little village a good 


many miles from London. His name is Trollop, and he was a shoe- 
maker by trade ; and though he was not the first in the place, we were 
always tolerably well off, because he had the postman's place, which 
brought him a few shillings a week more. My mother was a daughter 
of the clerk of the parish, and a very pretty woman she was too ; but 
she would marry my father against her father's consent, and the conse- 
quence was, that my grandfather, who was a hard old man, would 
never have any thing to say to her more, though he was very rich for 
a man in his way. My mother kept a couple of cows, however, and 
used to sell the milk and cream ; and both father and mother were 
very fond of me, because I was an only child. Well, my mother fell 
sick, last March was a twelvemonth, and I had to go out and about 
with the milk and cream ; and one evening I met with a gentleman, 
the son of a lord in our neighbourhood, who spoke to me and walked 
along with me, and though I did not like him much at first, and thought 
that Will Jones, who was the great milkman of the place, was a much 
pleasanter looking man," yet after a while, like a foolish girl, I began 
to think that it was a fine thing to be courted by a lord's son, and I 
>vas stupid enough to let him know where I went to with the milk, and 
at what hour I was passing here and there. After that, for three 
weeks or a month, he was sure to find me out somewhere every day ; and 
he talked so fine and promised so much, that he quite cajoled me. It's 
no use talking any more about that part of the story ; but, as you may 
guess, I showed myself quite a fool in the end. The only happiness 
of the whole business is, that my poor mother never knew any thing 
about it. She died last June, and thought me as virtuous and good as 
ever, so that she blessed me when she was dying ; and though I thought 
it would have broken my heart to hear her. yet it would have been ten 
times worse if she had not. Well, not long after that, the gentleman and 
I both got in a fright for fear the people should see the way I was in, 
and I should become chargeable to the parish ; and so he persuaded me 
that it would be better for me to go away with him to London, where 
he said he would keep me like a lady. I agreed to all he asked, for 
I was frightened out of my life ; but, then, when I thought of going 
away and leaving my poor father, who was fit to go distracted for my 
mother's death, I felt as if it would have killed me. However, 
fear and love prevailed, and I agreed to go, and we settled the time 
when my seducer was to fetch me — -just when my father was going 
round with the letters, which came in there of an evening. But, oh ! 
I shall never forget that evening ; for all in a minute, just when I was 
waiting and looking out, my father came in as white as a sheet and 
trembling in every limb, for somebody had whispered to him something 
about it, and he said — 

" * Betsy, what have you been doing ?' so then I began to cry, and 
he saw how it was very well. 

" His face changed all in a minute, his eyes began to roll in his head, 
and he cursed me terribly ; and I thought that he was only dreadfully 
angry ; but all of a sudden he laughed out loud again, and caught up one 
of the fowls that had followed him into the cottage, and tore it all to 


pieces in a moment. Then he threw it down at my feet and cried out 
— * So have you served your father's heart,' and then he rushed out 
again without his hat, and has been raving mad ever since, I hear. 

"I scarcely know rightly what happened afterwards or how I got out of 
the cottage, but I know I was soon going along in a post-chaise towards 
London with Mr. Fitzurse sitting beside me ; and he was kind enough 
to me for a fortnight, and took lodgings for me, and gave me money to 
pay for every thing ; but at the end of that time I believe his cash 
began to run low, for I heard him talk about being afraid of having 
a bailiff after him, and he left me one morning, telling me he would come 
back at night, but he did not, and never came near me again. At first I 
was very low, and wrote to him an humble letter at his father's house, 
and begged him to help me, and not let me starve or go upon the town, 
but he wrote me back word that he had no money ; that he thought it 
would be much better for me to seek for another friend, for he could 
do nothing to help me ; and that there was no use of my writing to 
him any more, for that if my letters fell into his father's hands he 
would only have less than he had. His letter did me good, for it made 
me angry, and before I had read it half an hour I had answered it too. 
I told him that for myself I cared not, that I despised him ; but th:»t 
his baby he should not abandon, that I would bring it back to him at 
his father's door, and that if he did not send me money instantly, that 
it might not want at its birth, when I could not help it with my work, 
I would come down on foot and seek help of the parish he was so 
afraid of. I sent the letter to a poor girl, who had a kind heart, and 
who I knew would help me so far as to give it to him — though all the 
rest of the world cast me off — and she did too, for she gave it before 
his father's face. As soon as I had sent it, all my courage failed me 
again, and I gave myself up to despair. I thought he would take no 
notice, or tell me to do my worst, and what was to come of it then ? 
Was I to go back where people used to be all so kind to me, and to 
have them turn away from me, and point at me with contempt ; to be 
confined in the parish workhouse, and perhaps to see my father raging 
in madness — all for my fault ? Oh, I shall not forget those three days 
if I were to live for ever ! and how I walked about the two rooms I 
had, and never slept. To my surprise, however, I had an answer 
directly, with a ten-pound-note ; for he was a sad coward, and my 
letter frightened him. But he told me I must never expect more, and 
now that his father knew all he did not care ; and the old lord signed 

the letter, too, and called me a . But it does not matter : he 

called me what I was not then, but what I am now. I saved the ten 
pounds, and spent not a penny that I could help, eating no more than 
would keep life and body together, till the child was born ; and then 
I tried to get needlework to do, and sometimes I did earn a few shil- 
lings, sometimes nothing ; and my money grew less and less, and I sold 
some of my clothes ; and I tried at the shops where they had work ; 
but if 1 went shabby I was sure to get none, and gradually they would 
not trust me with any thing unless I could bring some one to answer 
for me, or could deposit the value of the goods they gave me. My 


landlady was kind enough, and sometimes got me work, till I began 
to owe her rent, and then she said I must pay her or go. One day, 
then, I went out to seek for work : I had only two shillings in the 
world, and I had not eaten any thing, for I did not like to change one 
of them ; and my heart was sad enough. I went about for two or 
three hours, and I looked at the women of the town as I passed along, 
and they seemed so gay and happy I envied them : but, oh, sir, I did 
not know what agony of mind and body was hid under many a light 
laugh. Just then a respectable-looking old lady came up and asked 
me if I was seeking for a place, and called me a pretty nice-looking 
girl ; and I told her I was looking for needlework. She then said, if I 
had a mind, she would help me to get more than I could by needlework ; 
and she talked to me in the way of all those old women. And though 
I would not go to her house and live with her and the rest, I agreed 
to go home with her then ; and 1 have been ever since what you see." 

" And do you think," asked the chevalier, " if you had been able 
always to get work you would have refrained from your present course?" 

" That I would," cried the girl eagerly. " If I could have got 
enough to buy bread and water I would never have done evil again. 
I do not mean to say it is the same with all girls, sir, for there 
is many a one goes upon the town out of vice and wickedness, and 
many a one out of lightness and folly ; but there are thousands who 
may have done one wrong thing, and repented of it heartily, and would 
never do another if they had any way at all of living without going 
from bad to worse. There are places called Magdalen hospitals and 
such things, but they are very little good compared to what might be 
done if the ladies and gentlemen who spend so many thousands in very 
showy charities, would but take the advice of a poor girl like me, who 
knows what it is that we really want." 

" Why, what would you have them do ?" demanded the chevalier. 

" I would have them establish houses in all quarters of London," 
replied the girl, "and in all great towns too, where every poor girl who 
was willing to work with her needle might find employment. Perhaps 
it would not do to give all those who come, work out of doors, unless 
they could bring some security that they would take it safe back, for 
there are thieves every where ; but they could have rooms where they 
might work as long as they liked with the materials given them, and 
then be paid according to what they had done when they went out and 
gave their work up. If there were such places in London, sir, it 
would save one out of every two women who walk the streets of this 
town at night from a life of shame, and wickedness, and misery, and a 
death of sin and horror. Hundreds, like myself, would never have 
gone upon the town if we could have got six or seven shillings a week 
by our own industry, after we had committed a first fault." 

" I will speak of it," said the chevalier — " I will speak of it to one of 
the most amiable women in the world, and one of the wisest, the wife 

of Alderman P , who is himself one of the best of men I hear. I saw 

them both at the Mansion-house this night ; and he will some day be 
chief magistrate of the city ; but even now their character and talentt 


give both husband and wife great influence, and they will do what can 
be done, I am sure." 

" It will be a blessed thing, sir," said the poor girl ; " it will be a 
blessed thing for many ; though, as for me, it will come too late. I have 
nothing before me but despair." 

" I am not quite sure of that," replied the chevalier ; " better things 
may turn up for you than that. I know the man who seduced and 
abandoned you : I know something of the village, and its people too, 
and I rather think there is better hope for you than you suppose." 

" God bless you for giving it, sir," said the woman ; " for, oh, if you 
could tell what horror and disgust is attached to the trade I follow ; 
how one learns to abhor all mankind, ay, and one's self too ; if you 
could tell the scenes that one goes through, the changes from want to 
plenty, and from plenty to want, the horrible state of never knowing 
whether one will have a shilling to-morrow to buy food or not, and the 
finding no consolation or hope but in drink, you would feel that the 
least little glimpse of relief is a blessing indeed. You don't know, sir, 
perhaps, that the half of these poor women whom you see, live almost 
altogether upon spirits. Very little do they eat, and all they mind is 
to drown care and the thought of their situation. I can't do so, indeed, 
on account of the baby, but it's the case with most of them ; for they 
can almost always get somebody to give them a glass of gin, even when 
they can get no one to give them a bit of bread. 

The chevalier put his hand to his head and mused for a few minutes, 
and then looking up, said to himself, with his peculiarly moonshiny 
air, " I think the best way would be, to issue a general summons for the 
whole kingdom at once ! Where such things are suffered to go on the 
nation must be mad. It's a general act of lunacy." 

" I wish I was mad," said the poor girl, overhearing him ; " I don't 
think I should care so much about it." 

" Well, well," replied the chevalier, " you keep yourself quiet where 
you are, my poor girl. I am going down to your native village of 
Outrun, or very near it, to-morrow, and from what you tell me of yoiu* 
relations there, I am not quite sure that you may not be entitled to 
some little property. At all events, I will inquire into it and let you 

" Lord ! sir," cried the girl, " you seem to know every thing. How 
could you find out I came from the village of Outrun ? and I'm sure I 
don't know how it is, but I have told you every thing to-night just as 
it happened, and I should never think of doing so to any one else." 

" My poor girl, you could not help it," replied the chevalier. " But 
be of good cheer ! There is something for you." 

We have already said that the chevalier was very abundantly sup- 
plied with the coin of this nether earth, which is very plenty in the 
moon, money being, as Lycurgus found out, a very mad sort of inven- 
tion, which the world would have been much better without. Putting his 
hand, therefore, in his breeches-pocket he pulled out as much as he could 
grasp, and gave her more than any one but a lunatic ever gave a woman 
of the town before. At the same time he placed in her hand two or three 


of the tickets which came out mixed with the money, saying, " Will you 
have the goodness to distribute a few of these amongst the gentlemen 
who come to see you. They must be turned of one-and-twenty, and if 
by any chance they should be married, as I hear is sometimes the case, 
all the better." 

Thus saying he left her amidst a torrent of gratitude and thanks. 




The chevalier found both of his companions up and waiting for him, 
and before they went to bed he related all that he had heard and seen. 

"Oh!'* exclaimed Worrel, "I know the poor girl well. There 
was not a prettier girl in the place than Betsy Trollop, the postman's 
daughter, till that young scoundrel, Fitzurse, seduced her, and took 
her away to London. Her father went raving mad, and was so violent 
that they were obliged to put him in the county jail, there being no 
lunatic asylum in the neighbourhood, and the good people at the work- 
house not being able to manage him. She was granddaughter of old 
Scapulary the sexton, and if he had not married again would have 
come in for a good thing." 

" So I thought, so I thought," replied the chevalier : " but I had a 
letter from my good friend, Joey Pike, this morning, and he gives me 
a little hint, which, perhaps, may make a difference in the arrangement 
of Mr. Scapulary's fortune. However, the moon having gone down, my 
good friends, I feel somewhat sleepy and tired, so I think it may be as 
well to go to bed." 

The next morning, at a reasonable hour, the three gentlemen having 
•hired a carriage, and put a pair of post-horses to it, set out on their 
way to the house of Mr. Alderman Rotundity. The road lay straight 
towards the village of Outrun, and the journey back from London 
was certainly much more pleasant, both to the chevalier and Harry 
Worrel, than the journey to the metropolis had been. Pretty little 
villages, nice hedgerows, small farm-houses, distant spires, small, neat 
woods, every thing seemed beautiful and cheerful, not so much from 
the sunshine, which spread over the rural scene, as from the sunshine 
in their own hearts. After a pleasant drive of four or five hours, and 
after Mr. Longmore had proposed seven new ways of propelling car- 


riages, — one of which was by capillary attraction, and one by an air- 
pump, which was to be exhausted and re-filled by the rotation of the 
very wheels it put in motion, the chaise, proceeding in the old-fashioned 
way, rolled in through a handsome lodge, and along a fine, broad, 
smooth private road, to the splendid country-house of Mr. Alderman 
Rotundity. That worthy gentleman was himself ready to receive 
them, having set off at an earlier hour. Nothing could be finer than 
the rural residence of the alderman, nor, to say truth, in much better 
taste, for it combined various sorts of appropriateness. It was a good, 
substantial English mansion, built by himself, with nothing either 
Gothic, Elizabethan, Greek, or Palladian about it. It suited his 
fortune, which was ample, his rank, which was of the middle class, 
his country, his age, and his habits. There was a large fish-pond 
within sight of the windows, with a pretty stream meandering through 
the grounds ; there were some fine woods and promising plantations ; 
there were some fountains and grottos, a slight touch of landscape 
gardening, and some beautiful lawns, which would have done very well 
for children to play upon ; but, alas ! Mr. Alderman Rotundity was an 
old bachelor, living solus cum sola with his sister. Miss Serpentaria 
Rotundity. However, he was quite as glad to see his friends as if he 
had had forty children ; perhaps more so indeed, and to the chevalier 
he was peculiarly civil and attentive, welcoming him to Rotundity 
Court with that degree of zeal and affection which his character natu- 
rally inspired. 

" Come, my dear sir ; come," he said, " and I will introduce you to 
my sister, who, while I visit London upon business or upon pleasure, 
remains at home, deep in more important employments : ' Lonyum 
cantu solata lahorem arguto conjux percurrit pectine telas' " 

Thus saying he led his friends up stairs, over carpets soft and pliant 
to the toe, and through a handsome corridor, lined on each side with 
glass-cases containing gigantic bones and specimens of minerals and 

" This is her own particular abode," he said ; " this is where she 
studies and plunges deep into all the secrets of nature. You see some 
of her own collections, all of which she can explain to you in the most 
wonderful manner. I don't know any thing about it, I confess, having 
dedicated myself entirely either to the more material pursuits of com- 
merce, or the softer and more graceful studies of classical literature." 

The chevalier, it must be confessed, was rather awe-struck ; for, to 
the mind of a gentleman of his sphere, the presence of a person so 
solidly sensible and so profoundly scientific, was, of course, a very 
grave and serious thing to encounter. 

" Really, Mr. Alderman," he said, " I fear I shall not be any fit 
society for a person so superior as your sister." 

" Oh, pooh, pooh," cried Mr. Rotundity, with a benevolent and 
patronizing air, " you will do very well : one who has seen so much of 
the world as you have, must have learned, ' Cum tristibu^ severe^ cum 
remissis Jucunde, cum senibus graviter, cum juventute comiter vivere.'" 

As he spoke he opened the door, and the chevalier, with some con- 


sternation followed, giving a look at his two friends behind. He was 
surprised, however, to see the good-humoured countenance of Mr. 
Longmore upon the broad grin, and Harry Worrel very well inclined 
to laiigh. 

" Don't be alarmed, my dear chevalier," whispered the natural phi- 
losopher, " Rotundity's a very clever fellow, but his sister's a humbug." 

Almost as he spoke they entered the room, and Mr. de Limatico 
found himself in the presence of the very learned and scientific lady 
he had heard of. All preconceived ideas are wide of the truth. Miss 
Rotundity had been painted by the chevalier's imagination as a taU, 
thin, gaunt, dry-boned woman, a sort of personification of comparative 
anatomy ; but here before him sat a little dumpy personage, with a 
body like a soup-tureen, dressed in green velvet to receive him; a 
head like a Christmas-pudding, and a turban of gold gauze, looking 
uncommonly like a piece montee of spun sugar." 

" My dear chevalier," she exclaimed with great volubility, and in a 
voice which sounded as if she had stewed prunes in her mouth, " I am 
delighted to see you. Ah, Longmore, how do you do ? Worrel, how 
are you ? Pray be seated, pray be seated. A pretty blow-up you 
made of it at Ivy Hall, Longmore ! Some of those inventions of 
yours, I am sure, did it. Now my calm pursuits will never set a house 
on fire." 

" Nor the Thames neither," said Mr. Longmore, laughing good- 

" Well, well," replied the lady, in the same tone, " we, scientific 
people, chevalier, always speak disparagingly of each other's pursuits ; 
each man abuses his neighbour's horse, whether it be a hobby or not. 
But you have been a great traveller, I hear, chevalier ; you are a geo- 
logist of course. Indeed I know you are ; you must be. Were you 
ever in Russia ? — But I know you have. Did you ever visit the Urinal 
mountains ?" 

The chevalier looked at Mr. Longmore, and then at Harry Worrel, 
but he was a diplomatist, and replied quite gravely, " No, madam, I 
never visited any but the Mountains of the Moon." 

" Dear me," said the lady, " how I should like to see them. They 
are in Chum Tartary, I believe, are they not ?" 

" No, madam," replied the chevalier, " rather farther than that." 

" I am sorry to hear it," replied the lady, " for if they had been 
in Chum Tartary I dare say I could have got the consul at Odyssey 
to send me some specimens. Homer, I think, is the consul's name, is 
it not, my dear brother ?" 

" No, no," cried Mr. Longmore, laughing ; " Homer may be consi- 
dered a dictator in literature, my dear lady, but never was a consul 
yet ; and though he wrote the Odyssey, I don't think he was ever at 

Miss Rotundity looked astounded, and her brother gently reproved 
her, saying, " My dear, you should keep to science, you know nothing 
about literature !" 

** Well, that's true," replied tne good-humoured lady ; " but you go 

C. NO. VII. p 


along, Rotundity, you have plenty to do ; I'll entertain the cheva- 

" I dare say she will," said Mr. Longmore, as Mr. Rotundity took 
his departure." 

" Now, my dear chevalier," cried the lady, " you shall come and see 
my magnificent specimens. First, I will show you that which all the 
Bucklands and the Sedgewicks envy me the possession of. It is a 
complete Musty Don ; I believe it to be quite unique." 

" I believe, madam," said Harry Worrel, who could refrain no 
longer, " that it was found by our army in Spain, was it not ? But 1 
thought they had discovered many Musty Dons there." 

" Oh, dear, no ! oh, dear no !" cried the lady quite seriously ; " this 
is the only one that ever was found complete, and some people even 
say that the top of his tail is wanting. But then, chevalier, I have got 
the whole leg and hip-bone of a Maggy Tierum, which was discovered 
by our own people in the Gall-stone formation, while they were sinking 
a shaft by the means of linthotomy, for the purpose of producing an 
Arterian well." 

Mr. Longmore's shoulders shook so heartily that his stiff pigtail 
seemed in danger of being broken off at the root, and he whispered 
to Worrel — 

" It's all that wild dog the curate's doing. He does nothing but 
quiz her from morning to night, and she believes every word he says. 
Pray, Miss Rotundity," he continued aloud, "have you seen young 
Jones lately ?" 

" To be sure," replied the lady — " I see him almost every day. He 
is quite my right-hand man. A very clever man, indeed, chevalier. 
Mr. Longmore is speaking of the incubus of our parish. He has 
taught me to be a complete Neptunist^ which, indeed, is the doctrine 
most consonant to Scripture. I believe that the hills have all submerged 
from the face of the waters, while the valleys have all recalcitrated by 
succulent springs." 

" Do you not think, madam," said Mr. Longmore, " that esculents 
may have had something to do with the business ?" 

" Perhaps so, perhaps so," replied the lady ; " but one thing is quite 
clear, that the Vulcanists are quite mistaken. Vulcanic action cannot 
account for the straddlification of all the superincumbent masses ; 
and if fire is to be the occasion of the whole, how comes it that all the 
coals in the world were not burnt out long ago ? No, no, Neptune for 
my money." 

She spoke so loud and vehemently, that a large, black dog which was 
lying imder the table, got up and wagged his tail. 

" Ah, Nep," she cried, patting his head, " I called you after my 
theory, didn't I ?*' But, now, chevalier, just come out into the ves- 
tibule and I will show you a collection that is worthy of your seeing, I 
can assure you. Count Ramcatskin, the famous Russian geologist, staid 
two hours examining them. He was a very great man, indeed — a 
wonderful traveller like yourself, chevalier. He had gone up to the 
highest peak of Mount Blanks I can assure you." 


" That peak must have been what they call point blank, I suppose, 
madam,** said Harry Worrel, with the gravest face imaginable. 

" I believe it is," said the lady ; " but he had been at the top of the 
Riggy, too. But talking of Higgy it puts me in mind of rigging, and 
that puts me in mind of the interesting story of the Pick de Middy." 

" Indeed, madam ! how is that ?" demanded the chevalier, with his 
usual urbanity. 

" I will tell you, I will tell you," replied the lady, moving towards 
the door ; but I won*t have you come with us, Longmore, y )u laugh 
at every thing but your own foolish inventions. You may come, 
Worrel, because you are better behaved. But the story of the Pick 
de Middy is very interesting indeed ; it was told me by the excellent 
incubus of our parish. One time, in the Pyrennean mountains, which 
lie between France and Algiers, a British midshipman — sir, you know 
of course, what dare-devils they are — was told that it was quite im- 
possible to go up a certain tall, sharp, precipitous mountain, that 
nobody had ever done it, and nobody ever could. Upon which he, 
like a true British tar, declared that it was nothing at all, and that he 
would not only do it the next day, but would cut a toothpick out of the 
top of it. Accordingly, the next day he set out in spite of every thing 
that they could say, taking nothing with him but a hammer and a 
chisel, a pound of tea, a little sugar, and a bottle of hot water ^ 

" A little vinegar, too, might have been as well," said the chevalier. 
" Hannibal once told me it served to humbug his soldiers with." 

" Ay, but this midshipman had no humbug about him," replied the 
lady : " so he set off the next day, and was seen a great way up climb- 
ing on and climbing on, till at length the people lost sight of him. 
But, poor fellow, he never came down again ; and a number of his 
messmates and the sailors of his ship, which was lying off that coimtry, 
determined to go up with ladders and what not, after he had been 
absent for four or five days : and there they found him, poor fellow, 
seated at the top, frozen to death. But he had kept his word : for he 
had made a toothpick out of a little bush that grew about the top, and 
had stuck it between two of his fore teeth, just as we see a groom 
do with a straw. So it was called the Pick de Middy ever after in 
memory of the tragic event." 

" Very shocking, indeed," said the chevalier, who by this time had 
arrived with the lady in front of the glass-cases — "very shocking 
indeed ; but may I ask, my dear madam, what this great animal is in 
the midst of this blue stuff, looking like a potted crocodile ?" 

" Ah ! that glass-case," continued the lady, with a profound look 
and an emphatic tone, " contains the great family of the Sawruses. 
That one comes from Dorsetshire, but they are originally of Irish ex- 
traction, as you may know by their name. 

** May I inquire," said the chevalier, " what is the peculiarity in their 
appellation which makes you to suppose them to come from the sister 
island ?" 

" Bless me !" cried the lady, " don't you perceive at once. They 
have all got an O* before their family name, just like the O'Donnels, 

212 THE commissioner; or, 

and the O'Connells, and the O'Moores, and the O'Tooles. These are 
called the O'Sawruses. There's the Pleasy O'Sawrus and the Itchy 
O'Sawrus, and a great many more besides. It was our worthy incu- 
bus who first explained to me the cause of this curious name that they 

" A very curious name indeed, especially the last," said the cheva- 
lier. " I should not like to be in that gentleman's skin at all. But 
this next case seems to be very curious also. May I ask what this 
great round thing like a stewed ram's horn in aspic jelly is ?" 

" That's an ammonite," replied the lady ; " that case contains all 
the ites. My brother says I arrange them as Lilly does the Latin 
nouns, by their terminations. They are the ammonites and the zoo- 
phites, the aerolites, the hivites, the neophites, and others, all fossils of 
that family." 

She was going on to another case, saying — " now you shall see my 
leg of the Maggy Tierum" but just at that moment a loud, deafening 
bell, ringing for at least five minutes, announced the hour for dressing ; 
and Harry Worrel exclaimed — 

" That shows that we shall soon see a leg of mutton, which is better 
than any fossil leg in Europe — at least for my present purposes," he 
added, seeing the lady's brow darken. 

Her brother, however, came just then to the rescue, and advancing, 
with his portly benignity, towards the chevalier, said — 

" Come, my dear sir, your curious-looking portmanteau has been 
carried up to your chamber, and I will show you the way myself; for 
you will have just time to dress. Longmore, you know your old room," 
he continued, " and Worrel's is next to yours. This way, chevalier, 
if you please ;" and walking on, with his weighty but quick step, he 
led the chevalier to a very elegant room with a dressing-room, in which 
he paused a moment to see that his guest had every thing which was 
necessary. Mr. de Lunatico, for his part, seized the opportunity of a 
little conversation with his host, having conceived doubts which he 
wished to resolve as speedily as possible. He commenced by praising 
the beauty of the grounds and the house, which he pronounced both 
tasteful and magnificent. 

" Oh, not magnificent, not magnificent, my dear sir," said the alder- 
man, with a well-pleased smile — " though well to do in the world, I 
grant, I never strive for magnificence. I only seek * quicquid dignum 
sapiente bonoque est ?' Indeed, I rather live below my fortune than 
above it, feeling the advantages of it with moderation — ' ut tu fortu- 
nam, sic nos te, Celse, feremus.' It's not of my fortune I'm proud, che- 
valier," he continued, the peculiar influence of the commissioner's lunar 
powers afiecting him against his will, and compelling him to tell his 
feelings whether he would or not. " Though I do like to see every 
thing neat and nice, and to have it praised and admired, yet I would 
not be ostentatious for the world, feeling myself a little inclined that 
way, but knowing very well how foolish it is. But, I confess, of my 
quotations I am a little vain, as perhaps you may have perceived." 

** I have only been astonished," said the chevalier, " that, with all 


your commercial affairs and so much important business of other kinds 
upon your hands, you should have had time to read the immense 
variety of authors you must have perused." 

" I have a very good memory," replied Mr. Rotundity, with a smile, 
and a shy glance at the door as if he would fain have escaped from the 
fascination which compelled him to reveal the truth. 

" But still you must have read an enormous quantity," continued 
the chevalier ; " is it not so ?'* 

" No, no," replied Alderman Rotundity, with a sigh — " all my quo- 
tations are from the heads of the Ramblers and Spectators. There's 
an English translation below, you know, and I have a good memory." 

" Oh !" said the chevalier, " now I understand. But don't be afraid, 
my dear friend, I will not betray you." 

" Pray don't, pray don't," said Mr. Rotundity, and rolled himself out 
of the room as fast as he could go. 





" "Why, Tom, what's the matter ?" exclaimed Viscount Outrun, after 
sitting for nearly five minutes at breakfast the morning subsequent 
to the night of the ghost-catching expedition, without hearing Tom 
Hamilton utter a word; " you are as silent as a stock-fish, and some- 
what white about the gills. I'll bet you a pound note to a shilling that 
you saw the ghost last night." 

Thus hard pressed, Tom Hamilton resolved to take his bit of fun out 
of the ghost likewise ; and, as he had certainly suffered somewhat by 
the apparition, to seek a little compensation at the expense of the good 
people round him. 

" Why yes, my dear lord," he replied, " I did see the ghost, it is 

"By jingo, that's funny," cried the peer, with an excited look; 
" what was she like, Tom ? Come tell us what she was like." 

" She was the exact image of the picture, the third from the east door 
in the gallery," said Tom Hamilton. 

The peer's countenance became a little marbled in hue, but having 
had time to recover from the first impression of the ghost's authentic 


appearance, he resolved to put the best face on the matter, and quiz 
Tom Hamilton. 

" Well now, Tom," he continued, " confess you were in a devilish 
fright: weren't you now, old boy — felt your stomach queasy? and 
your knees knock? and a desperate inclination to run, if your legs 
would have carried you ? Hey, Tom, hey ?" 

" I did feel a little queer certainly," replied Tom Hamilton, with the 
gravest face in the world, " but I was not at all inclined to run away. 
I would not for the world have missed hearing what the ghost had 
to say." 

" And what the deuce did she say ?" exclaimed the peer, with his 
curiosity a good deal excited, and conscience beginning to fidget on 
her chair, with not the most easy sensations in the world — "tell us 
what she did say, Tom, if she said any thing." 

" Oh yes," replied Tom Hamilton, " we had a long conversation 
together ; but I am afraid you may not very well like to hear what she 
did say — it was not particularly pleasant or complimentary." 

" Oh then hold your tongue," cried the peer, " I never like to be 
rowed by man, woman, or spirit. — Here take some broiled chicken ; 
you're off your feed, man ;" and the peer helped himself at the same 
time to a leg, which he cayenned and salted prodigiously, but could 
not get it down after he had done. 

A pause of some four or five minutes ensued, and at length his lord- 
ship exclaimed, " Come, Tom, let us hear what she did say ; curiosity 
is a frisky devil, and will have her own way. But your are not joking, 
are you ?" 

" No indeed, my lord," replied Tom Hamilton, " the subject is too 
serious a one to joke upon. But if you want to know what she said, it 
began with ' Tell that old humbug, my brother ' " 

" No, d — n it, Tom, did she say humbug ?" exclaimed the peer ; 
" Come, that is not fair ; I am not a humbug, whatever I am." 

" No, no, my lord," replied Tom Hamilton, " it was not humbug she 
said. I cannot pretend to give all her words exactly, for I was in a 
bit of a fright, it's true, but I recollect it was not humbug — it was 
brute, so it was — * Tell that old brute, my brother,' she said " 

" Ay, that's something like now," cried the peer, " brute she was 
very likely to call me — indeed she did once or twice, if I recollect 
right. Well what did she say besides, poor girl ?" 

" She said, ' Tell that old brute, my brother,' " continued Tom 
Hamilton, "'that '" 

" I wasn't old in those days, either," cried the peer : " I was as gay 
a young fellow as ever lived — something of your own kidney, but only 
a little too fond of the horsewhip. Well, what more did she say — 
tell that old brute, your brother that " 

To say the truth, Tom Hamilton had not got his story up completely, 
his hoax upon the peer being somewhat of a sudden thought ; and he 
therefore added at random, " Tell him that he must do justice and 
make atonement, or I will plague his heart out." 


The peer looked perfectly aghast, " The devil she did," he exclaimed, 
" I say, Tom, that's awkward." 

" Very," replied Tom Hamilton. 

" Did she say any thing more ?" demanded the peer. 

" Oh, yes," answered his companion, " she said that he was a very 
wicked man, her brother, and must do right before he died." 

" And what more ?" demanded the viscount. 

" Nothing," replied Tom Hamilton, " because just then we were in- 
terrupted, for you must know that there's a sham ghost as well as a real 
one in the house, and in the midst of our spiritual tete a tete in came a 
mock ghost — some one who has been frightening your people for a long 
while, I dare say — but I knew the difference between the real and the 
false one in a minute, and saw that the latter was merely some one 

" Who was it, who was it ?" cried the viscount : " some of those 
jades of women, I'll answer for it." 

" I dare say it was, viscount," replied Tom Hamilton ; " but as I 
couldn't see her face, I can't say which. I have secured a way of finding 
her out, however, for I caught hold of her by the gown. Look here ! 
She pulled so hard that she broke away, and left this piece in my hand." 

" Ha, ha, ha ! That's capital," cried the viscount. " We'll catch 
her out — we'll have them all in, and make them show their gowns, 
and then the one that matches the piece is the culprit. W^hat shall we 
do with her, Tom ? — what shall we do with her ? Shall we flog her r" 

" No, my lord, no," replied Tom Hamilton ; " I thought you had had 
enough of the horsewhip ; and besides, the real ghost might not like 
such a way of punishing her rival." 

" Pooh, pooh ! that's nonsense now, Tom," said the peer : " by jingo, 
1 believe you are hoaxing me, and have not seen a real ghost at all." 

" On my life and honour, my lord," replied Tom Hamilton, in so 
serious a tone that it was impossible to doubt he was in earnest," I saw 
the real ghost exactly as .Jerry Tripe and your son described her, 
dressed in a black mantilla and a grey satin gown. Her face was 
more than pale, it was a bluish grey. If it had not been for that she 
would have been very pretty." 

" So she was, so she was, poor thing," said the viscoimt. 

" There was no mistaking her," said Tom Hamilton — " no living 
person ever had such a look as that. But the other was substantial 
enough — a great, tall, strapping wench, after no good, I'll swear. Let's 
have them up, my lord." 

" Ay, so we will, so we will,'' cried the viscount, waking from a deep 
reverie into which he had fallen. " Ring the bell, Tom, there's a good 
fellow. But now let me manage it! Don't you say a word. I'll tell you 
what we'll do when we have found her out — we'll set her in that chair, 
and we'll make her drink a bottle of champagne, and then we'll paint 
her a pair of moustachios, and pin upon her back ' The Ghost of Out- 
run Castle ;' and after that we'll walk her through the village with the 
marrow-bones and clea ers before her. Won't that be a good pimish- 
ment ?" 

216 THE commissioner; or, 

" Yes, my lord,'* replied Tom Hamilton, " but more fit for a grena 
dier than a maid-servant, I should think." 

" Well, well, ring the bell, ring the bell," cried the peer. " Let us 
see who it is, first." 

Tom Hamilton accordingly pulled the bell-rope, and the first person 
who appeared was Jerry Tripe. 

" Hark ye now, Jerry," cried his master, " we have an evolution to 
perform, so mark and do what I tell you exactly. Send up every 
maid in the house, from the housekeeper to the kitchen-maid's 
helper ; and as soon as you are sure that they are all in here, take 
the men and go into the maids' rooms, and fetch down their goods 
and chattels. Bring all their boxes, and especially any gowns that you 
can find. Don't say a word to them on your life ; but march them all 
in here, rank and file, without distinction." 

" Hadn't you better tell me what's the matter, my lord, and then I'll 
act accordingly ?" said Jerry Tripe, with what authors call generous 

But his lord repelled him roughly, exclaiming, " Get out, and do as 
you are bid, you vagabond, or by jingo, I'll make you. Quick! march! 
send the girls in, and we'll settle the rest." 

Jerry Tripe had nothing for it but to obey, though he paused twice — 
once, half way between his master's chair and the door, and once at the 
door itself, thinking it excessively odd that any thing should take place 
in the house without his being consulted, and feeling a strong inclination 
to stay and vindicate his vested rights. Finding it difficult, however, to 
begin, he yielded his purpose, and beat his retreat from the room, just 
at the moment that his master was about to reiterate his order. Some 
five or ten minutes elapsed, passed by Tom Hamilton in devouring his 
breakfast, and by the peer in alternate chucklings at the thought of what 
he would do to the sham ghost, and reveries concerning the real one. At 
length, however, a great cackling was heard in the passage ; the door was 
thrown open, and in marched Jerry Tripe, like a stout drum-major, at 
the head of a regiment of petticoats. Next to him stalked, with 
stately air, and somewhat indignant look, the housekeeper, dressed in 
tea-coloured silk, and a white muslin apron. Next rolled in the cook, 
having her red and stalwart arms bared nearly to the shoulder, and 
with a fiery glance in her eye which seemed to indicate an inclinatiow 
to baste her master as heartily as ever she had basted the hissing joint. 
Then glided forward, with timid step and downcast eyes, Jane, the upper 
housemaid, then Sally and another sub, then the kitchen-maid, the 
stillroom maid, till the long line, diminishing through a scullion, ended 
almost at a point in the person of a diminutive ancilla, known only by 
the designation of " the girl." 

Ranging themselves along the side of the breakfast-room, this for- 
midable array faced the viscount and Tom Hamilton as they sat at the 
breakfast-table, and after gazing over them for a moment with mirth 
and merriment in his jovial countenance, the peer burst into a loud and 
uproarious laugh. The housekeeper bridled, the cook breathed flames, 
Jane blushed up to the eyes, Sally looked brazen, the kitchen-maid 


tittered, and a thin diminutive laugh, not bigger than could lie in a 
snufF-box, but clear and hearty, was heard from the girl at the end of 
the line, like a faint and far-off echo of the viscount's roar. 

" Now, wenches," cried his lordship, as soon as he could smother his 
cachinnation — "now, wenches, which of you is the ghost?" 

The housekeeper could bear no more : " I'd have you to know, my 
lord," she said, " that I am not a wench nor a ghost neither, for that 
matter, and never will be, please God ; but I won't put up with it, that 
I won't. Ill stay no longer, — I give you warning, my lord, — I'll go at 
the end of the month. I do declare I've suffered enough in this house 
to break the heart of any mortal woman, that I have ;" and the house- 
keeper wept. 

Sundry other signs of mutiny were beginning to display themselves, 
and not a little serious was likely to be the result, (for who can say to 
what lengths female wrath will go, when led by a housekeeper and 
supported by a cook,) but just at the moment that it was likely to 
explode from the lips of the latter personage, again the door flew 
open, and in walked the whole array of men-servants. Bearing the spoils 
of the maids' rooms both in boxes and out of boxes, each man 
advanced, and each at the feet of its fair owner laid down the burthen 
that he carried. 

" Now retire, Jerry Tripe," exclaimed the peer, entering into the 
dramatic spirit of the thing ; " let every one in breeches quit the room 
but myself and Thomas Hamilton, esquire ; but keep well the door, 
and let no one go out without an order." 

" Now, wenches, you must know," he cried, as soon as the room was 
cleared of the lackeys, " now, wenches, you must know that some 
one has been playing ghost in Outrun Castle. She was caught by Tom 
Hamilton last night, and in her struggle to get away left this piece of 
her muslin gown in his hand." 

" I'm sure it was not I," cried Sally, boldly, " or I'd have scratched 
his eyes out." But the viscount continued without heeding her, while 
Tom Hamilton gave her an insinuating look with very little effect. 

" Now," cried the peer, " I will know who is the ghost ; and who- 
soever has a gown that this piece of muslin fits will stand convicted of 
the offence. Give me none of your airs, but obey, or, by jingo, you 
shall suffer for it. Now, Mrs. Housekeeper, it's clear enough that 
yours isn't the gown, but you shall go through the same ceremony as 
the rest for your impudence, so turn round slowly before me." 

The peer's face was dark and threatening ; the housekeeper, not- 
withstanding her official powers, was overawed, and though she strove 
to yield with dignity, still she yielded, sailing roimd before the peer as 
if she had been dancing the minitet de la cour. The cook flounced 
round, to use an appropriate expression, like a parched pea in a frying- 
pan. Jane turned round in a great fright about she knew not what. 
Sally pirouetted with all the sauce in the world, and kitchenmaids, 
scullions, stillroom maids, and the small girl at the end, all whirled 
about like that gentleman, famous in song, who is, at all events, first 

218 THE commissioner; or, 

cousin to Jack Daw.* No one, however, showed the rent gown, or 
one which, in any way, would match with the trophy of Tom Hamilton." 

" By jingo, this is funny," cried the peer. " And now, Tom, for the 

The onslaught upon the maids' paraphernalia then commenced in 
serious earnest — if that can be called serious which was accompanied 
by such peals and shouts of laughter as perhaps never before were 
heard. Gowns, stockings, petticoats, shoes, aprons, handkerchiefs, 
shifts, and night-caps, were dragged forth with relentless cruelty by 
the daring viscount, who held them up, and commented as he pro- 
ceeded, while his fat sides shook and walloped, and the tears rolled 
down his cheeks under the irresistible influence of Momus. If the act, 
however, was indecent in itself, his comments upon it were still more 
so, and conseqjiently we shall not enter into any of the details, but 
simply state the great and important result. Yes, reader, great and 
important was the result. Human nature will bear cruelty, oppression, 
tyranny, of every kind ; the most turbulent and rebellious will lick the 
spittle of the greatest despot that the world ever saw, and present that 
part of their person usually employed for the purpose of being kicked 
with the greatest suavity and satisfaction. We have seen it in France, 
we may see it in every country of Europe ; but let the tyrant beware 
how he laughs — you may do any thing with man but laugh at him, or 
woman either. The spirit of revolt I have shown was rising ; and the 
peer's laughter, in which Tom Hamilton could not refrain from joining 
— though he avoided all share in his perquisitions — roused indignation 
step by step, as he went down the line. The housekeeper flounced, 
tossed up her head, and exclaimed, " Well, I declare!" The cook 
grinned, and swelled, and clutched her hands spasmodically, as if she 
was kneading dough. Jane burst into tears ; and Sally, when she saw 
the peer diving deep into the penetralia of her box, caught the red 
velvet night-cap from his head, threw it in his face, and gave him an 
awful box on the ear. The flame communicated itself to every one ; 
forward they rushed upon the peer and Tom Hamilton — they pulled 
them, they pinched them, they cufled them, they scratched them ; they 
took up the linen, dirty and clean, and showering it upon their devoted 
heads, half smothered them under the load. Then, all rushing out of 
the room in a body, they shouted, as if with one voice, " You may 
laugh now if you like." 

* The writer is generallj supposed to have meant some particular person of that 
age of the name of Raven, (a very common name in some counties of England,) 
whose deeds are not recorded ; others, however, more learnedly suppose that he 
had a particular allusion, and meant to designate some minister who had fre- 
quently changed his party ; while a few, and those principally of the vulgar and 
illiterate, assert that he merely spoke of a character in one of the popular songs 
of the day, and, in proof of their accuracy, quote the words " Wheel about, and 
turn about, and jump Jim Crow." They do not, however, satisfy us who this Jim 
or James Crow was ; and we need not point out to the reader, that such a vulgar 
and silly allusion is not likely to find its way into so serious a work as this. 














If Tom Hamilton was frightened at the ghost — and we have boldly 
acknowledged that he was — the ghost was not much less frightened at 
Tom Hamilton. Although she had played her part in the affray with 
courage and decision, Laura's little heart was undoubtedly beating at a 
much more rapid rate than was agreeable, when she returned to her own 
room after her adventures in the picture gallery. She had been frus- 
trated, indeed, in her great object, that of meeting again with Jerry 
Tripe, and eliciting from him any further information regarding the 
secret to which he had alluded under the first influence of terror. But 
she had, moreover, found that there were other persons on the watch for 
her, whom it might be somewhat less easy to deceive in regard to her 
peculiar state of existence. Fright, dear reader, as thou knowest, if 
ever thou hast tried, is a sad damper of the enterprising spirit, unless it 
be carried to that pitch at which — as a learned friend of ours, from one 
of the English universities, gracefully expressed it — " a feline animal, in 
the apex of a right angle, assumes the leonine natiu-e." Laura, conse- 
quently, was hurried at once into the rash resolution — ^for fear is almost 
always the parent of rashness — of giving up all further peregrinations 
in Outrun Castle, and abandoning Jerry Tripe's secret to his own care 
and discretion. She turned the key quickly in the door as soon as she 
entered her chamber, and leaning against it with a palpitating heart, lis- 
tened for the steps of the pursuer. No such steps were heard, however ; 
and after taking breath and taking courage for the space of about 
ten minutes, she set down the lamp on the table, re-lighted her two 
candles, and began to disencumber herself of her ghostly apparel, 
wash her face from the paint with which she had daubed it, and 
emerge from the spiritual representative of the late Honourable Lucy 
Fitzurse, into pretty little Laura Longmore once more, with eyes as 
bright, and cheeks well nigh as rosy as ever. Then she drank a little 
water, and then she thought she would undress and go to bed. Pur- 
poses, determinations, and considerations, however, kept her there sit- 
ting at the table for some time. Having rashly resolved, as we have said, 
to give up the pursuit of the secret, and, as the door of the room was 


open at her will, to bid good-bye to Outrun Castle, and take herself 
home, the next question was, when and how she was to perform 
this intention. When she had first discovered the key in the door, 
it had all seemed as easy to her as lying, to use Hamlet's compli- 
ment, to this mendacious world ; or rather, as Laura — bless her little 
heart — was not at all given to lying, we will say, as easy as speaking 
the truth ; but now a thousand difficulties appeared. If she attempted 
to make her escape in the day she was very likely to be stopped and 
brought back again ; if she executed it at once, the prospect of a 
night's lodging in the park was not particularly agreeable. How was 
she to get out of the park ? Where was she to go when she got out ? 
She had left Ivy Hall in no very pleasant predicament ; and she was 
very sure that there was neither stick, stock, nor stone of it standing. 
All this was as inauspicious as it could be ; and she calculated upon 
tripping along through the country like a demoiselle errante^ with no 
very satisfactory feelings. The greatest of all her difficulties, indeed, 
was how she was to trip along, as we have said ; for though she had 
found plenty of stockings, there was not a shoe in the box that would 
fit her, and consequently she would be obliged to follow the example 
of the hen, and 

« Go barefoot, barefoot." 

Now, as her feet were as delicate little white feet as ever were put into a 
satin shoe, she did not at all like the idea of trusting them to the tender 
mercies of a rough road. She had found her shoelessness not very plea- 
sant in her ghostly wanderings over the comfortable carpets of Outrun 
Castle, though to say the truth, her delicate step upon the soles of her 
stockings, had not a little contributed to make her pass current as the 
being of another sphere. To go, however, she was determined ; and she 
had just brought her mind to think that the best plan would be to make 
her escape in the grey of the dawn on the following morning, if she could 
but persuade her eyes to open at a proper hour, when she was suddenly 
startled and thrown into a state of terrible agitation by hearing a tap 
at the larger of the two doors which led from the corridor into her 
chamber. Laura listened, and heard her heart beat against her stays 
most unconscionably, but for a minute or two she heard nothing else. 
Then, however, came another tap, and then a voice in a whisper, as if 
somebody had put his mouth to the key-hole, crying " Hist, hist ! I 
want to speak a word to you, a petit, petit motr 

As quick as lightning it passed through Laura's 'mind, first, that she 
could not well pretend to be asleep, inasmuch as the light of her candles 
must be shining through the key-hole; next, that her late visitor 
could not be any of the ordinary tenants of Outrun Castle, as the first 
thing he would have done, under those circumstances, would have been 
to unlock the door, the key of which was on the outside. Hope, then, 
of some assistance, rose suddenly up in her heart, and approaching the 
door, she said, " Who are you ? what do you want ?" 

" Let me in," said the voice again, " I want to give you du secours. 
I am Joey Pike, alias Mademoiselle Brochet, valet de chambre and 


master of the robes to the very venerable the Chevalier de Lunatico. 
I have found out all about it, and wish to deliver you." 

Laura glanced round her room, and a blush rose up in her cheeks at 
the very idea of suffering a man to come into her bedchamber, for she 
had never received those sweet instructions in modesty which so many 
of our fair countrywomen now take advantage of in Italy, where male 
housemaids make the beds and arrange the rooms of the interesting 
young maidens who travel for the improvement of their morals and their 
hearts. However, the idea of deliverance overcame all scruples ; Joey 
Pike was too remarkable a person, and too near a neighbour of Ivy 
Hall not to be well known to the fair Laura, and his tone and language 
left no doubt of his identity, as soon as it was heard. With a timid 
hand Laura undrew the bolt, and not choosing to trust the secret of the 
other entrance to any one, she bade Joey Pike turn the key of the 
principal door, which he did after feeling for it during a second or two, 
for Joey was in utter darkness. What was Laura's surprise and con- 
sternation, however, when the door opened, and instead of a smart- 
looking youth in a blue coat and a crimson velvet waistcoat, appeared 
a smirking, smiling damsel, with long black ringlets, bonnet and each- 
mere, a muslin gown, and a sevigne on her forehead. Laura literally 
started back, while Joey Pike, resuming in a moment the character of 
Mademoiselle Brochet, tripped into the room, made a low courtesy, and 
exclaimed, " I vairy glad to see you. Enchanti de votes voir ! How 
you was this many a day, Mees Laura — I hope you well, and you 
excellent papa, wid hees pigtail ?" 

Speedily, however, Laura became convinced of the identity of Joey 
Pike and Mademoiselle Brochet, and giving way to her natural dis- 
position for fun, she laughed most heartily at his transformation. 

" You come wid me now," he said, after some farther explanations 
" You go wid me quite safe trough de park. I very respectable young 
voman ; once you get to de half moon, you be quite safe dere." 

" But I have got no shoes," said Laura. 

" No shoe, no shoe ?" cried Mademoiselle Brochet, " dat vairy bad, 
vairy bad indeed. You cannot walk or hop eider ; but I soon do for 
you ; I go steal you a pair of shoe. Jane's foot is vairy leetle, but if 
dat not do, de girl's will. Lend me your lamp for one moment, Ma'am- 
selle Laura," and catching up the lamp, away went Joey Pike in search 
of spoil. 

He was not long gone, and on his re-appearance he brought two pair 
of shoes with him, one of which answered the purpose, though it did 
not fit very well. Still Laura had some objection to a night expedition, 
but Joey Pike now showed her that in two hours, or little more, the 
sky would be getting grey ; and it was finally arranged that Joey 
should ensconce himself in some part of the house, and come to tap 
at Laura's door again with the first ray of the morning sun. The 
pretty little prisoner locked her door and lay down — ^without taking off 
her clothes, however; but fatigue almost instantly overcame her, her 
eyes closed, and she went sound to sleep. Fancy played its usual 
vagaries, and she instantlv set to work to dream aU manner of things. 


The first vision was, that she was married to the Chevalier de Lunatico, 
and she did not like it at all ; but speedily a change came over the 
figure of her dream. The chevalier began to alter amazingly ; his 
cheeks plumped out, his grey eyes became browner and more brown ; 
his almost white hair took a darker hue, and curled and waved round 
his forehead ; a considerable whisker extended itself upon each cheek ; 
the look of clear, sharp, moonshiny intelligence melted into an expres- 
sion of tenderness and love ; the chevalier, in short, was metamor- 
phosed into Harry Worrel, and Laura liked it very much indeed. She 
was just in the midst of her happiness, when some one tapped at the 
door, and, starting up in haste, she approached and asked who was 
there ? 

" Oest moii mademoiselle,*^ cried Mademoiselle Brochet, " eet is 
your vairy humble sairvant and lady's maid. Time to be gone, I 

Laurft opened the door without more ado, and, wrapping herself up 
as well as she could in the mantilla, she issued forth into the still and 
silent corridors of Outrun Castle, with a faint, blueish-grey light 
stealing through the tall windows, and shining peacefully but sadly 
upon the pictures of the dead. 

" Had we not better go this way ?" said Laura in a whisper, pointing 
to the great staircase. " Do you know your way ?" 

* Every inch of the house from my childhood," cried Joey, forgetting 
his French extraction for a moment. " The door of the great hall is 
locked," and on he went along the picture-gallery. 

As they passed on, Laura could not refrain from pausing for a 
moment before the picture of her whose representative she had been, 
and gazing up with a degree of melancholy interest upon the counte- 
nance of one, vague rumours of whose sad fate had reached her ears 
more than once. The picture was a fine one, and as the light in- 
creased each moment, the figure seemed to live before her ; the soft 
brown eyes appeared to look at her with tenderness and affection, and 
the whole expression, ay, even the features seemed familiar to Laura's 
memory, as if those of some dear departed friend. Has it not often 
been so with yourself, reader, when you have gazed upon a well-painted 
picture, that you have found a sort of reality and identity about it 
which has made you think that you have known the person? Laura's 
reverie, however, was interrupted by Joey Pike whispering — 

" She was a pretty woman, wasn't she, Miss Laura ?'* 

" Yes, indeed," replied Laura, " very pretty, I think." 

" Ah, yes," replied Joey Pike, with a self-satisfied tone, " I was 
always considered very like her when I was a child." 

Laura turned and looked in his face with surprise, but, as she did 
so, she could not help owning that what he said was true. As he 
stood there with his bonnet and ringlets there was a considerable like- 
ness — one of those absurd, wild, caricature resemblances which one 
sometimes sees between very ugly and very beautiful people. She 
felt mortified to see it, so much had she admired the picture, and yet 
she felt inclined to laugh ; but not wishing to do so, she walked on 


followed by Mademoiselle Brochet. After they had descended the 
small staircase, wound through one or two passages, and got into the 
stone-floored part of the house, they found themselves opposite to a 
door ; but, alack-and-a-well-a-day ! the door was locked and the key 
was out. Joey Pike threw himself into an attitude of wonder and 
consternation, although it must be owned his petticoats were a great 
impediment to his grace. 

" Dat old knave have kep his word," he said, resuming Mademoi- 
selle Brochet. " Begar ! he have lock all de door not to let me out, 
when I would not support his nauseous tenderness. Vat can be done 
now r 

" Really," replied Laura, " I cannot tell." 

" Let me try de oder tree door," cried Mademoiselle Brochet ; " den 
if all be lock, I go into his room and get the key, den ven he vake, I 
knock him down and shut him in." 

There seemed no other resource : all the doors proved to be locked 
with a vigilance rarely exercised in Outrun Castle, and Joey Pike led 
the way with a cautious step towards the especial apartments of Jeremy 
Tripe, Esq. Those apartments consisted of his pantry, which was 
external — the porch of the temple, in short ; and within that again his 
sleeping apartment — the penetralia where the fat idol lay and snored. 
The door of the pantry was not locked, and mademoiselle opening it 
entered with a noiseless step. There was no shutter to the room, and 
as the pillars of Balbec show the majestic splendours of a former day, 
so did tumblers and glasses, a brandy bottle, a sugar can, and three 
circular stains on the table, monument the revels of the preceding night. 
But there was another interesting object on the board. Close by an 
inkstand was a sheet of paper, written from the top nearly to the bot- 
tom in a tolerably good hand, which Joey Pike immediately recognised 
as that of the jovial butler, who, apparently, disappointed of the com- 
pany of his fair Brochet, had drank and written, and written and drank 
again, as long as he was able. At the end of the letter, however, there 
were two words, one tolerably distinct, but the other utterly effaced, 
presenting nothing but a large round blur, with a few undecipherable 
scratches in the middle. It was evident that the head of Jerry Tripe 
had fallen forward, and his nose had taken the place which his pen had 
formerly occupied. As soon as Joey Pike beheld it, the irresistible 
spirit of fun seized him, and taking the quill he dipped it in the ink and 
wrote by the side of the blur, " Jerry Tripe, his mark." 

In doing so, however, his eye fell upon some words in the beginning 
of the letter, and snatching it up he read the whole of it eagerly. It 
was to the following effect : — 

" My dear creetur. 

When we were interrupted this morning by that tiresome, 
good-for-nothing French gal, I was in the middle of talkin' to you about 
matters of great importance. As to that 'ere marriage certificat 
which your husband defunck always kepp in his gray breeches' pocket 
— poor man, I wonder what always made him wear gray breeches — but 

224 THE commissioner; or, 

as touching that *ere, I am authoritated by my lord to offer you the 
matter of a twenty-pound note if you find it and deliver it to me. And 
now, my dear Scap., I'll tell you something more — you know how I 
love you, and if you can contrive to bring it up to me within three days, 
rU manage so to work the old 'im, that you shall get another ten pound 
out of him. Don't let nobody know nothing about it you know — but 
just come up to the castle, and ask for 

"Jerry Tripe, 
His mark." 

<< There, there !" cried Joey Pike, showing the letter to Laura, " my 
lortune's made ! But let us take the keys, and I will take the letter. 
There they hang, behind the door in the old gentleman's room ;" and 
advancing quietly he reached down the key of the outer door; but while 
his hand was still raised in the execution of this purpose, a loud noise, 
as if Jerry Tripe, bed and all, had tumbled down together, was heard 
from the next room, the door burst open with tremendous violence, 
almost knocking Joey Pike down behind it, and, to Laura's horror and 
astonishment, there stood Jerry himself, in his night-shirt, with his 
red nose flaming in the brightening twilight, like a large lantern-fly 
just buzzing forth from its hole in a tree on the approach of a 
tropical night. 







There was evidently a party. The cackle of manifold voices struck 
the ear of the Chevalier de Lunatico, as he approached .the door of 
the drawing-room, and when he entered, he found two or three neigh- 
bouring families of the country-gentlemen class, commencing in general 
at a stout, broad-shouldered, hale-looking, grey-haired papa, and 
passing down through a respectable matron, and a somewhat gawky 
young lady, to a shy youth of eighteen, beginning to feel himself the 
man, and not knowing well how to set about his new vocation. Three 
persons, however, caught his attention particularly, from various circum- 
stances : the first was a young man who had a clerical air, besides a black 
coat, a white neckcloth, shoes, and silk stockings ; he was of a saturnine 
complexion, with small gold-rimmed spectacles, and a face which would 
have been as grave as that of a judge passing sentence, had it not been 
for a twinkle of indescribable fun in liis small dark eager eyes, which 
peeped through his glasses, marking every thing round about, like 
rabbits looking out of their burrows ; he was speaking in a low tone to 
Miss Rotundity, and as the chevalier entered, he heard him say, " Yes, I 
can promise it to you for a certainty. It was already packed up at 
Crocodilopolis, and was only waiting for two ships to carry it over." 

" Two ships !" exclaimed the lady. 

" Yes, indeed, my dear madam," he continued ; " one merchant ship 
would not be long enough to hold it. The smallest specimen of the 
fossil crocodile is a hundred and ten feet long, and I am assured this 
is a very large one." 

" Dear me !" cried Miss Rotundity. " Two ships ! How will they 
ever be able to keep them together ?" • 

" Oh, very easily," answered her collocutor : " they will lash the bow- 
sprit of the one to the boom of the other, make the whole fast by 
graplines, and the very back bone of the crocodile will form an un- 
breakable link between them." 

" We must build a room for it," said Miss Rotundity. 

" Oh, I will have over for you the plan of one of the crocodilatories 
from Crocodilopolis," he rejoined ; and was just proceeding to tell her 
how the whole was to be arranged, by running a gallery of two hun- 
dred feet long behind the hot-house and the pinery, when the eye of 

C. — NO. VIII. Q 


Miss Serpentaria fell upon the chevalier, and beckoning him up, she 
introduced him to Mr. Jones, the incubus of the parish. 

The next person who attracted his attention, was a person whose 
superficies was of no ordinary dimensions. He was a man of more 
than middle height, but who looked positively short from the width to 
which he had extended ; nor was it alone the venter Sardanapali whicli 
had received this enormous growth. The arms and the chest were fat, 
the legs were worthy pillars of the state, and each shoulder bore half a 
hundred weight of adipose matter; wliile resting upon them, with scarcely 
room for a cravat between, was a head in fair proportion, with a broad 
face, full of jovial enjoyment. It was impossible to look upon that coun- 
tenance, and not to see that a right merry heart had contributed as much 
as a right good appetite, to the obesity of of its possessor. He was 
almost immediately introduced to the chevalier as Mr. Deputy Popes- 
eye, and bursting forth into a fat, gravy-sounding laugh, as his new 
acquaintance eyed him with some degree of awe, he rubbed his stout 
hands together, exclaiming, " Haw, haw, haw! You. don't see many 
such specimens as me, I take it, in your conmion council, chevalier.** 

Mr. de Lunatico acknowledged that people were not usually so fat 
in his country, but as he spoke, his hand was taken by no less a per- 
sonage than his former host, Mr. Longshanks, who seemed sincerely 
pleased to see him. The chevalier's first inquiry was for poor Nelly Bain, 
to which Mr. Longshanks answered in his usual abrupt and hasty tone, 
" Oh, the old fool goes on pining and weeping from time to time, just 
as if, in some half-dozen years, she would not meet her son in heaven. 
He was a good boy, and she is a good woman, and they are sure to 
meet. What's the use in going about snivelling and gloomy because 
she doesn't see him for a year or two. They would have been longer 
parted, in all probability, if he had gone to India! And yet the old ass 
bears it so patiently and meekly, it's that which provokes me. If she 
would blubber outright, I could scold, and then I shouldn't care, but 
the tear never gets farther than the corner of her eye, and one sees that 
it is in her heart that she weeps." 

With that he thrust his hand into one of the large flaps of his waist- 
coat, drew out a ponderous gold box, extracted from it enough of a 
black-looking powder to have charged a musket, and crammed the 
dust up his left nostril. 

" May I ask w hat that stuff is ?'* said the chevalier. " I have seen a 
great number of persons stopping their noses with something of the 
same kind, as if this country was famous for bad smells, and they 
wanted to keep them out. 

" I will tell you what it is, chevalier," said Mr. Longshanks ; " it is 
what we call snuff, the powder of a poisonous weed, which, by this 
process, is rendered very serviceable to our frailties. I have heard 
that you think us all mad, but that is a mistake ; we are only all 
foolish. This snuff gives a man something to do when he has nothing ; 
spares many an empty head the trouble of making an answer ; gives 
politicians, hypocrites, and knaves, time to compound a lie, when they 
have not one ready ; furnishes a wise look for a fool's face ; enables 


men by a grimace to cover an emotion, and prevents people from 
leading you by the nose, for fear of dirting their fingers. There's 
dinner, however ; now you'll see some of the antics of English society. 
Who's to go out first, and who's to go out last, is a matter of as much 
importance, as if those who got the earliest to the table, ate up all the 
food before the rest could get at it." 

We shall not pause upon the dinner at Rotundity Court, that is to 
say, upon the things that were on the board. As might be expected 
from the character of the host, there was every thing that was good, 
and a terrible onslaught took place during the first course. It was all 
done in silence, too — profound, voracious silence : everybody looked 
at his plate, thought of his plate, or at the utmost, carried his eyes and 
his imaginings to the neighbouring dishes, except, indeed, Harry Worrel 
and the chevalier — the one thinking, naturally enough, of his absent 
love ; the other eating delicately, as usual, and then lolling back in his 
chair, with his hand upon the stalk of a wine-glass full of white her- 
mitage, marking with his keen, clear, grey eye, and moonshiny smile, 
the faces of the feeders round him. Gradually, however, the edge of 
appetite was blunted ; people began to say a few words to each other, 
and the ladies were asked to take wine : champagne began to circulate, 
and M'ith it conversation, till at length a clatter, unmatched since the 
days of Babel, rose around the devastated board. Everybody was 
speaking at once: some in an under buz to their next neighbour; 
some in a loud tone across the table ; some in a shout from end to end ; 
and as each was talking of a different subject, the meaning was some- 
what confused. 

" Whether the nebulcB which I first discovered to the east of Lyra, 
with my astronomical plunger, as I call my great telescope ," ex- 
claimed Mr. Longmore, talking to a young lady, who liad nothing 
to say in reply. 

" The teleosaurus that I was mentioning," said the curate to Miss 
Rotundity, " used to feed upon the pygopterus, a fossil fish, with fins 
nineteen yards long " 

" As hard a morsel as ever was chewed " said Mr. Deputy 

Popeseye, speaking of a tough haunch of venison which he remembered 
having eaten three years before. 

" And if there was a grand hospital for mischievous idiots," said 
Mr. Longshanks, speaking to a country magistrate, " I would under" 
take to fill it with thirty thousand patients from the bench in England 
and Wales alone, to say nothing of Ireland and Scotland, which would 
require greater accommodation." 

'^ Plus aloes quam mellis habet" said Alderman Rotundity, with 
a shy look at the chevalier 

" I only danced with him once, I am sure " said a young lady 

near to a young gentleman who had a jealous countenance. 

" A glass of wine. Rotundity ?" 

" What shall it be ?" 

" A little vol au vent, if you please." 

<* Pig-hop-to-us ! What a funny name." 

228 THE commissioneb; ob, 
" Some soda-water " 

" The alderman's walk 

« Megalotis '' 

" Pyrmont water " 

"Fined him five shillings, and committed him three months in 

default " 

" Looks very bad indeed " 

" Delightful conversation " 

" It's all smut " 

" Lcetus sum laudari ** 

"Miocene " 

" Oxygen " 

" Catalogue of stars " 

" Notagogus " 

" Member for the borough- 

Gross bribery and corruption in ' 

" The best kitchen that ever was built ** 

" Of London clay, and " 

" Hock, if you please " 

Make the best of it you can, reader, Mr. de Lunatico could make 
nothing. Thus passed an hour or two in the great occupation of 
eating; an occupation which, alas, in every country, and amongst all 
nations, whether their glories have been in war or intellect, whether 
their tastes have been for poetry or the sword, has been from the 
times immemorial of killing the fatted calf down to the invention of 
the last new dish, the grand object, apparently, of human existence. 
Yes, reader, yes ; though the world, as a novelist has lately said, is one 
great battle-field, the object of the strife with us — as with the tiger and 
the pike — is food. Oh yes, man is a voracious, a most voracious animal, 
and, with cool, determinate forethought, leaves at least one half of his 
happiness in the hands of his cook. I wish, my dear chevalier, you 
could amend all this, for I cannot help thinking there is a touch of 
lunacy in suffering one's peace of mind to rest upon the frail support 
of a haunch of venison, or even the back of a rabbit. Let us hear, 
however, what may be said upon both sides. At that very board, an 
able defence was made for the pleasures of the table, not quite conclu- 
sive, perhaps, but certainly con amove. 

The table-cloth had been removed, exquisite claret perfumed the 
air, the ladies had withdrawn, and the gentlemen, full of food, and 
bursting with hilarity, were talking, laughing, chatting, and drinking, 
when the voice of Alderman Rotundity rose high above the din, 
addressing Mr. Deputy Popeseye, who sat near him. 

" Nay, my dear friend, nay, I will take no excuse : I unaerstand 
your delicacy, but I must have it : consider, here is the Chevalier de 
Lunatico, who has come expressly to mark our manners and our 
customs : I will have one of your famous songs. Hoarse, my dear 
friend ? Your voice was never clearer." 

" Well, well. Rotundity, well, well," answered Mr. Deputy Popeseye, 
" if you like it, I have no objection. What shall it be ?" 


« Oh, *Mock Turtle', *Mock Turtle,'" cried the alderman ; "it cannot 
be better than * Mock Turtle/ Silence for a song, gentlemen, if you 
please ; Mr. Deputy Popeseye for a song. That's what the toast-master 
says, chevalier, at our great public dinners." 

The stout citizen hemmed, sipped a little claret, looked round with a 
jovial and humorous expression, and then thrusting one tliumb into 
each waistcoat pocket, proceeded in a good round tone of voice to sing 
the following song : — 


** When a man has got old, 
And his blood has grown cold, 

And his stomach has ta'en an advance, 
The bright eyes that shine 
Can't seduce from his wine, 

And the feast wins the day of the dance, 

Of the dance — 
And the feast wins the day of the dance. 

" A whole book from the bard 
Is not worth Bleaden's card — 

None but asses can feed upon myrtle ; 
And our festival nights. 
To a lover's delights, 

Are as green fat compared to mock turtle, 

Mock turtle — 
Are as green fat compared to mock turtle. 

** Oh, the calipash see, 
And the sweet calipee, 

In them there's no trick nor deceit : 
Iced punch is all true. 
And the haunch is no shrew — 

There's no jealous suspicion in meat, 

In meat — 
There's no jealous suspicion in meat. 

*' Look at yon lover there 
With his maiden I — He'd swear 

There's a dove's gentle heart 'neath that kirtle ; 
But yet he may find. 
When the knot is entwined. 

That her kisses were only mock turtle, 

Mock turtle — 
That her kisses were only mock turtle." 

The Chevalier de Lunatico did not look upon either the music or 
the verses as particularly excellent, but all the rest of the company 
applauded. He was a diplomatist, and he applauded too. He ven- 
tured, however, after a short interval, to ask Mr. Deputy Popeseye, in 
a low voice, if he believed in the immortality of the soul. 

" To be sure, to be sure," cried the deputy ; " haw, haw, haw ! to be 
sure : if it's a good one, I don't know a better fisii." 

230 THE commissioner; on, 

" The man's consistent, at all events," thought the chevalier ; and 
turning to Mr. Jones, the curate, he was asking him some questions in 
regard to the stories with which he filled the head of Miss Rotundity ; 
and as to whether, in a speculative point of view, he thought lying a 
Christian virtue, when the door of the dining-room opened, and a 
servant entering, carried a note up to Mr. Longshanks, saying that it 
was of immediate consequence. 

" Ah, some great fool, some great fool," cried the surgeon ; « some 
great fool who has got a pain in the tip of his nose, and thinks it a 
matter of life and death. Tell them I won't get up for any man. If 
he is dying, he may die ; a good thing for his relations, too, I dare say, 
and for the legacy duty." 

All this was said without even looking at the note, and the servant 
naturally moved towards the door again ; but ere he reached it, the 
splenetic gentleman exclaimed, " Stay, stay a moment ;" and breaking 
open the epistle, looked at its contents. As he did so, the sour 
expression of his countenance became chequered with a look of a 
different kind, and after fidgetting for a moment on his seat, looking at 
Mr. Longmore, at Harry Worrel, and the chevalier, he beckoned the 
servant up to him again, saying, " Tell my fool of a groom to bring 
round the gig — I must go, I suppose." 

He then rose and shook hands, saying aloud, " There, Rotundity, 
don't drink any more wine ; you've had quite enough ; and if you go 
on, you'll quote bad Latin, till you confound all the genders, and 
obscure all the cases. It's a pity for a clever man, and a good man, to 
make a beast of himself: you don't do it often, but once is too often 
a great deal. Good night, good night. — Well, what do you want with 
me, Mr. Deputy ?" he continued, speaking to the worthy vocalist who 
had taken his hand in a friendly manner ; " if I were your physician, 
I'd have you tapped." 

" No, no, no," cried the deputy, laughing good humouredly, and 
laying his hand upon his broad paunch, " there's no fluid there but 
good wine." 

" Oil, oil, oil," cried the surgeon ; " oil enough to light your ward 
for the whole winter. If they knew but how to turn you to account, 
you'd be as good as a Greenland voyage to them. Chevalier, a word 
with you ;" and he whispered for a moment or two in the ear of the 

Whatever it was that he conununicated, it ended with " Not a word 
mind, not a word till you hear from me ;" and then, looking full into 
the face of the young curate, he added, in a low tone, " Mind, Jones, 
what I said about the cards, if you have the head of a reasonable man, 
the heart of a good one, or the principles of a Christian ;" and thus 
saying, he turned upon his heel abruptly, and left the room. 

" May I ask," said the chevalier, speaking to the curate as soon as 
the buz had somewhat re-established itself — " may I ask what our good 
friend meant about the cards ?" 

" Oh, nothing," replied Mr. Jones, endeavouring to affect an indif- 
ferent tone, "only he sees that yountr Handcock is here, who won 


fifty guineas off me the last time I met him. You must know, that 
when I was at Oxford," he continued, the influence of the chevalier's 
powers getting the better of him, " I fell in with a card-playiiig set, 
and acquired such a taste for it, that I cannot resist the temptation, do 
what I will. I know it is very wrong, and sometimes I cannot tell 
where to turn for a bank note to buy the babies clothes, or to pay the 
bills of the house." 

" What ! are you a married man ?" exclaimed the chevalier ; ** a 
married man, and game ?" 

The curate looked down with a sad and somewhat contrite look, 
replying, " it is not exactly gaming, you know : I only play at cards, 
and sometimes take a bet or two, but I am quite resolved not to do 
that any more. I know it makes my wife very uneasy, and indeed we 
are sometimes sadly straitened and low, so that I am obliged to come 
out here and quiz Miss Rotundity, just to keep my spirits up." 

" One vice following upon another," said the chevalier, in a medi- 
tative tone. 

As he thus said, he slipped his hand quietly into his breeches-pocket, 
and took a ticket by the corner, thinking that the reverend gentleman 
might be the better for a remove ; but just at that moment, his com- 
panion repeated, " I know it is very wrong, very wrong indeed ; I 
know every thing that can be said about it, and I am determined posi* 
tively never to touch a card again." 

The chevalier suffered the billet to remain ; and shortly after, the 
party rose and proceeded to the drawing-rooms, which Mere thrown 
open for all the neighbourhood. It was a very different scene from 
the ball-room at the Mansion-house, and to the eyes of the chevalier, 
a much pleasanter one, for he could not yet get himself to believe that 
the convulsions of St. Vitus, or those produced by the bite of a taran- 
tula, could ever be any thing, when performed voluntarily, but the act 
of a madman. All here were tolerably quiet, though there was a little 
of the gay volubility of youth, and a little of the sad garrulity of age ; 
but there were a number of pretty rosy faces, and of bright, happy- 
looking eyes, which made amenc^s for a good deal of chatter. The 
chevalier was soon in his element, gliding from one to the other, like 
moonshine upon the waters, and pleasing every body by his quiet, easy, 
graceful way of disposing of every subject under discussion. He had 
enjoyed himself thus for about an hour in the larger drawing-room, 
and had twice seen the Rev. Mr. Jones walking about, and talking 
quietly with his friends, when he suddenly missed that gentleman ; and 
turning towards the next room, where some card-tables were laid out, he 
beheld him looking over a game that was going on at one of the tables, 
with his hands behind his back, and his head bent in an attitude of 
much attention. The commissioner ventured upon a slight percussion 
of the breath, to call his attention away from the table, but Mr. Jones 
was deep in the brief mysteries of ecarte, and the chevalier, seeing a 
young lady who evidently wished to tell him all her secrets, glided 
forward and seated himself in a chair by her side. Mr. de Luna- 
tico's peculiar powers had, of course, their effects in this instimce, aa 


in all others ; and though, according to the general rule of woman, his 
fair companion looked as cheerful and as gay as possible, her words 
were all sad ; speaking of disappointed hopes, and ill-requited affection. 
It was, in fact, to alter a little the words of good Tirso de Molina, 

** En los ojos su mentira 
En los Jabios su verdad." 

After listening, and giving such comfort as he was capable of, the 
chevalier again turned to look after Mr. Jones, and now saw him 
seated at the table, with the cards in his hand. Mr. de Lunatico 
approached, and ensconcing himself in a corner, watched him while he 
played game after game, betting bet after bet, and saw him lose, by 
the time the company began to think of the supper-table, the amount 
of some ten or twelve guineas. He then rose, with a face a little 
anxious, and eyes somewhat haggard, or — if in such a grave work as 
this, we may venture to coin a word — we will say, somewhat Laputan, 
for their sight seemed turned inward, and one might feel sure, from 
the expression which they bore, that he saw not one single object in 
the whole room around him. The chevalier proved a " flapper," by 
stepping up to him at once ; and the moment he did so, Mr. Jones 
attempted to laugh cheerfully, saying, in an easy tone, " Ay,, my dear 
chevalier, you see I could not resist." 

" I see, I see," replied the chevalier, " but allow me, my dear friend, 
to give you this little note of invitation. In my country, every other 
mansion is a gambling-house ; where there are two tables in a dwelling, 
one is always a card-table ; and where there is but one, it serves for 
that purpose likewise. We have the ace of spades upon most of our 
dinner-plates, our tea-spoons are formed in the shape of a heart, our 
knives are all pointed like a diamond, and our walking-sticks have a 
club at the top. Pray come, pray come, it's the very country for you : 
you will be boarded and lodged, free of expense ; will have an oppor- 
tunity of utterly ruining yourself, and beggaring your family, in a 
fortnight ; and every inn-keeper has a brace of pistols always ready 
loaded for his guests, when they can make no further use of their 
brains, to blow them out." 

The reverend gentleman looked ruefully in the face of Mr. de 
Lunatico, and then said, " I shall have to give up my living." 

" The sooner you give it up the better," replied the chevalier, and 
turned towards one of the open windows, at which a group of ladies 
and gentlemen were standing. It was probably the intention of the 
chevalier to address to them one of those sweet and courtly speeches 
which always had so great an effect upon his hearers ; but just as he 
was about to open his mouth, a loud shrill voice came in at the window 
from the lawn on the outside, echoing round and round the room, and 
making every one start. 

" Ah mon Dieu P cried the voice, ^^je suis attrappe ; I am trapped ; 
I am caught by one leg through a damn iron thing. Au secours I au 
secours ! Help me ! help me ! or by gar, I break me the jamhe /" 


The chevalier recognised the voice of Mademoiselle Brochet ; Worrel 
did so likewise ; and both rushed out at once into an open verandah, 
from which a set of light stone steps led down into the lawns and 
shrubberies surrounding the house. What they found there, reader, 
you shaU know hereafter, if you have time and patience to accompany 
the writer a little farther on his way. 




butler's dream A GHOST -TRAP AND WHAT WAS IN IT. 

" By jingo, Tom," cried the viscount, still lying upon the fat 
stomach whereon he had fallen under the impetuous attack of the 
female rebels — " this is too bad ! isn't it ?" 

Tom Hamilton raised himself from his knees, and like a water- 
dog rising from the wave, which shakes itself clear of all the cumbrous 
moisture before it says any thing to any body, he cast off, with an 
angry quiver of his limbs, the caps, and handkerchiefs, and stockings, 
which had been piled upon him, before he replied to the viscount's 
question. " Too bad, indeed," he then exclaimed, " too bad indeed !" 
but as his eyes fell upon the viscount, and he beheld him looking like 
a fat turtle in a basket of dirty clothes, the sight was too ridiculous 
to be resisted, and Tom Hamilton laughed outright. 

" Help me up, Tom, help me up," cried the viscoxmt, feeling an incli- 
nation to cachinnate also, and suspecting that he might die of apoplexy 
if he attempted it with his stomach on the ground. " Ha, ha, ha ! it's 
too bad, though. Ha, ha, ha ! You may laugh, but, by jingo, it's too 
bad ! Ha, ha, ha ! — I'll flog 'em all !— Ha, ha, ha ! Help me up, 
Tom, or I shall burst." 

" Pray don't, my lord," cried Tom Hamilton, " for that would be 
the consummation of all the absurdities of this morning. To see your 
lordship lying there amongst the dirty clothes, like an over-ripe 
red gooseberry, is enough, in all conscience ; but if you were to burst 
— to crack in the rind, it would be the death of me." 

" Help me up — help me up," cried the peer, catching hold of his 
friend's two hands. " Tom, you are as bad as the rest ; but I'll flog 
*em — I'll flog 'em 1" and out he rushed after the maids before Tom 
Hamilton could stop him to remonstrate. 

Darting along the passage, he seized a huge hunting-whip that hung 
over the antlers of a stag in the hall, and catching sight of a petticoat 


flying around the balustrade at the top of the staircase, he rushed up 
and gave chase into the picture-gallery, making his whip crack ^ith 
all the skill and vigour of a French postillion. The maids, for there 
were three of them before him, scudded along through a part of the 
house with which they were but little acquainted, tried this door and 
that, and at each that they found locked gave a loud scream, and ran 
on to another. The ruthless viscount pursued, panting, and blowing, 
and determined upon vengeance : when, lo ! his three victims were 
stopped at the farther door of all, which was usually open, and which 
had been left so by Joey Pike, but which was now, strange to say, 
locked on the other side. 

" Now I've got them !" cried the peer ; " now Fve got them. You 
jades, you shall smart for it, by jingo!'* 

But at that moment, just as he had reached the often-mentioned 
picture, the door behind the women opened, and Jerry Tripe, rushing 
in, fell on both his knees at the viscount's feet, while, with his right 
hand extended tragically, he pointed to the sweet countenance of his 
lord's dead sister, exclaiming, " Forbear, my lord, forbear !" and the 
large point of his nose became of a tenfold deeper red with emotion. 
" Forbear, my lord," he cried ; " did you not vow at her death you 
would never horsewhip a woman again ? and if the ghost is all you 
want, the ghost you shall have. Fve got the ghost shut up in my 

" The devil you have, Jerry !" exclaimed the peer, letting the horse- 
whip fall from his hand in surprise. " The real ghost or the sham one ?" 

" The real ghost, my lord," replied Jerry Tripe ; " the real ghost, as 

I'm a living man. Listen, my lord Ah, Mr. Hamilton, you've just 

come in time to hear. If you dare face the ghost, you may now do it : 
I have got her locked up in my pantry, like a rat in a rat-trap." 

" Come, let us hear — ^let us hear, Jerry ?" cried the peer. What the 
devil shall we do with her? We must send for the parson of the 
parish, to lay her. Why, Tom, you look pale ! Do I look white, 
Jerry ? Sit down, Tom Hamilton, sit down : Jerry Tripe, your knees 
are shaking; sit down — sit down:" and down the peer cast himself 
into one of the great arm-chairs between the pictures, prepared for a 
gossip with Jerry Tripe, which was one of his ordinary enjoyments of 
a morning; and, to say truth, Jerry Tripe on such occasions 
often thought, with Mephistophiles — 

" Es ist gar hiibsch von einem grossen herrn 
So menschlich mit dein Teufel selbst zu sprechen." 

"Well, Jerry, begin— begin !'* cried the peer. "By jinffo, Tom, 
that's fimny, isn't it?" J J b » f 

" It's nonsense, my lord," replied Tom Hamilton, in a serious tone. 
" I have told you what I saw, and I'll answer for it no locks nor bolts 
will keep that ghost in. He may have got the other one very likely, 
and that will be quite enough for our purpose, for I rather suspect 
that you would not particularly like to see the real one. 1 have 


had quite enough of it, I can assure you ; and if I guess rightly, Jerry 
might as little like a conversation with her as any one.'* 

" I declare," said Jerry Tripe, " IVe been in such a flutter all the 
morning ever since, that I have not known what to do. I did not like to 
tell my lord, for fear of spoiling his breakfast ; and I would not go into 
the pantry alone for the world. But there she is fast : for after I had 
run away to the boy's room, and got on my breeches and coat which he 
had away to brush, and had taken breath and a glass of brandy, I 
went back and listened at the end of the passage, and I heard her move 
and rattle the things about, I'll swear." 

" Nonsense I" cried Tom Hamilton. 

" Well, well ; tell us how it all happened, and what brought her 
there ?" cried the viscount. 

" What brought her there !" exclaimed Jerry Tripe ; " what brought 
her there ! There was good enough reason for her coming : why I 
had just written the letter you know of, my lord — the letter you told 
Die to write ; and she came to see what it was all about " 

The peer put his finger upon his nose, and gave a long low whistle 
— a sort of boatswain's whistle to call up prudence ; and Jerry Tripe 
continued — 

" I'll tell you how it was, my lord. I was lying sound asleep on my 
back, between three and four o'clock this morning, just when it was 
growing a sort of grey daylight, and I dreamt a very terrible dream. 
I dreamt I was drunk " 

" Are you sure it was a dream, Jerry ?** said Tom Hamilton. 

But Jerry went on without minding him. " I dreamt I was drunk ; 
— not very drunk, you know, my lord ; not so as to make one hold on 
by the floor, nor even to take the strength out of one's knees, nor to 
hiccup, nor any thing of that kind ; but just comfortable, when a man 
feels a sort of mistiness about his notions, and thinks himself a very 
great man indeed, and tells other people what a fine fellow he is. 
Well, I was in this way, I thought ; and somebody who was there — I 
don't well know who it was — said to me, * Jerry, this is poor stuff.' 
So I dreamt that I said, * Poor stuff! why you don't expect it should 
be my lord's own particular ? However, to finish this night jollily, I 
will draw you this great black jug, which holds well nigh a gallon, out 
of the very best pipe in the cellar.' So then I thought I took the jug, 
and I went into the cellar — the cellar where the wine is in the wood, 
my lord, and there I saw that somebody had been ticketing all the 
barrels, and every one was marked in large letters, * not paid fob !' ** 

" By jingo, they may well say that !" cried the peer. 

" Every one was so ticketed," continued Jerry Tripe, " but a little 
quarter cask in the corner of the ceUar, and that was marked *Anno 
Domini 45,' and underneath was written, * The devil to pay, and no 
pitch hot.* 

" Well, my lord, I went to old Carbonell's fruity port, which we 
haven't tasted this seven years, and drawing the jug full, I thought 
I might as well taste it ; but I found that would never do, 'twas just as 
rich and sweet as ever, so, sooner than waste it, I drank the jug off at 

236 THE commissioner; or, 

two draughts ; and then I went to No. 2, and that tasted as sour as 
verjuice after the other, and so I drank that jug off, but it cost me 
three pulls at that ; and then I went to another, and there I did the 
same, and another, and another, till my stomach began to get woundy 
heavy, but, somehow, I couldn't leave off, do what I would ; and then 
I got to the top tier, till I'd tapped three and thirty pipes of port, and 
drank three and thirty jugs full. By that time I could scarcely waddle, 
and I'd got to the end of the cellar ; but just then I dreamt I heard the 
voice of some one calling out, 'Jerry, are you never coming back ? 
why here's all the wine coming out at the door !' Upon that I looked 
round, and saw that I had left all the taps running, and the wine by 
this time was as high as my knees. Then the same person called out 

again I don't know who it was — ' Why, you old fool, I will shut the 

door and lock you in/ and I heard him jingle the great keys that were 
hanging in the lock. So I shouted out again, * Hang me, if you shall 
do that ! I shall be drowned — I shall be drowned !' and therewith I 
made a fierce bolt at the door of the cellar, kicking along I don't know 
how many empty bottles that were floating on the top of the wine. It 
was a very terrible dream indeed; but just then I woke, and found 
myself rushing out of the bed-room into the pantry, with nothing but 
my shirt on. My head was in a terrible whiz, and I alnjost thought 
myself dreaming still, for there, close beside me, stood the ghost, just 
as I had seen her before. I was in a terrible fright, and didn't know 
what to do ; but, however, on the spur of the occasion out I bolted, 
banged to the door, and turned the key in the lock. I thought I 
should have died upon the spot, for my heart was beating like a 
hammer on an anvil. However, there the ghost is, safe ; she can't get 
out, I'll defy her, for there are bars on all the windows, the door's 
locked, and I've got the key in my pocket. So now, my lord, you can 
say any thing to her that you like." 

"I say, Tom," cried the peer, "you've heard about catching a 
Tartar, haven't you ? I think she is more likely to say to me what I 
don't like, than for me to say to her what I like. What's to be done 
now, Tom, eh ?" 

" Let us all go in a Dody," said Tom Hamilton, " if you're afraid to 
go alone. But you see this must be all nonsense, my lord : if the ghost 
is there, it is no ghost at all ; and if it is a ghost at all, it isn't there." 

*' Well then, you shall go first, Tom Hamilton," cried the peer, " if 
you're so sure of what you're about. Besides, the ghost has no ill will 
to yjou ; whereas, I think, Jerry, that you and I might very well get a 
cuff on the head, all things considered. Call up John and Peter; 
and hang me if we shan't be a match for the ghost, any how." 

Jerry Tripe did as his lord commanded, and in a few moments a 
stout array of men servants were drawn up in the picture-gallery. 
They made a sort of confused line, with the viscount and Tom 
Hamilton standing in advance ; and as the peer proceeded to address 
them in what the newspapers call a neat speech, the effect was very 
much that of a chorus at the Italian opera, for from time to time his 
assembled followers echoed his words, if not his sentiments 

.yAey C//z/y2<^9^' tyAaZciy?^. 

vr- x^^' ^77i^z^/a 

7c/zyy9za ayJ- /y/.a^'u 


" Now, my lads," cried the viscount, " we are going to visit the 
ghost " 

" The ghost !" cried the chorus, a dioramic effect coming over their 
countenances, and pallor succeeding rubicundity. 

" So every one pluck up a good heart, and march after me like men ; 
for, by jingo, I'll horsewhip every one who is in a funk " 

" In a funk !" sighed the chorus. 

** You, Jerry, march at the head " 

" At the head !" exclaimed Jerry, convulsively. 

" At the head ! — at the head ! — at the head !" cried the chorus, each 
one giving Jerry a push on the shoulder. 

" You, John and Peter," proceeded the peer, " follow close." 

" Follow close !" exclaimed John and Peter, putting their shoulders 

" And the grooms bring up the rear,*' said Lord Outrun. 

" Bring up the rear 1" sang the chorus ; and his lordship, who was 
not without a considerable portion of courage and resolution too in 
moments of need, put himself on a line with Tom Hamilton, and led 
the way, having first recovered his horsewhip, which was a sort of 
talisman that had protected him all his life, and which he clung to with 
Arabian devotion. 

Proceeding by the smaller door at the end of the picture-gallery, 
through the corridor, down the stairs, along the passage to the right, 
round the corner of the china-room, past the wall of the house- 
keeper's domicile, and along the side of the servants' hall — at which 
particular spot the irritable nerves of the viscount were cast into a state 
of agitation, by seeing a bevy of petticoats flying along before him, the 
maids not at all comprehending why he was marching about the house 
in procession — the Outrun phalanx turned up the long passage which 
led to the temple of Jerry Tripe ; and with breath growing short, and 
hearts beginning to palpitate, and limbs in some instances commencing 
a shake, they saw the door of the fatal chamber before them. Tom 
Hamilton himself began to feel queer; and as reason has no power 
whatsoever over human emotions, it was all in vain that he reasoned 
with himself upon substantiality and unsubstantiality. However, he 
was not a man to show the white feather upon any occasion, and his 
voice was as firm as a rock, when he asked, " Where's the key ?" 

The face of Viscount Outrun by this time was like an old lady's 
silk gown, purple embroidered on yellow ; and Jerry Tripe's nose was 
like a cloud in the early dawTi, a rosy spot amidst a wide expanse of 
grey. First in one breeches-pocket felt Jerry, then in another, then in 
the right-hand coat-pocket, then in the left ; the key was, of course, in 
the last place searched — 'tis always so, 'twill always be so to the end of 
time. But no sooner did Tom Hamilton receive the implement of open- 
ing, than forward he strode and applied it to the lock. It yielded to 
his hand, the door gave way, was cast wide open, and they beheld 

The table and the chair, the bottles and the glasses, a mouse scam- 
pering off with a bit of cheese, and its long tail behind it ; but no 
other living thing whatsoever. The door from the pantry into the bed 

238 THE commissioner; or, 

room was open, and there was Jerry Tripe's bed exposed to view, with 
one half of the bed-clothes cast upon the floor, as he had left them in 
his violent exit Tlie whole of tlie interior was displayed, but not a 
trace of any thing spiritual or corporeal, except the brandy-bottle, was 
to be seen. The peer and his gallant forces approached, but found 
the citadel abandoned ; every hole and corner was searched, but no- 
thing was found. The peer looked at Tom Hamilton, and Tom 
Hamilton looked at the peer ; the grooms gazed at the footmen, and 
the footmen gazed at the grooms. 

But what was Jerry Tripe doing ? How was the great Jerry occupied? 
He was staring, with a look of profound consternation, at the table beside 
which he had seen the ghost standing ; some mighty oppression seemed 
to hang upon the spirits, some weight that kept down the buoyancy of 
his fat heart. He seemed stupified, astounded, thunderstruck, and not 
a word did he say for the full space of two minutes. He was aroused 
at length by the voice of the peer — " Why, what's the matter, Jerry ?'* 
cried Lord Outrun. " What the devil are you staring at ?" 

" She has got it !'* exclaimed Jerry Tripe. " She has got it ! That's 
what she wanted, and she has got it !" 

" What ?" exclaimed the peer. " What the devil has she got ? 

" The letter," said Jerry, in a low and solemn tone, " the letter to 
widow Scapulary." 

The peer looked thunderstruck, and Tom Hamilton mused pro- 





No man is to be entrusted with power, for the nature of man is to 
abuse it. This is the reason why so much greater a portion of liberty 
exists under a despotic than under a democratic form of govern- 
ment. Under a democracy all the engines, means, and appliances of 
tyranny are extended to their utmost limit; and tyranny being an entity 
which does not lose strength by diffusion, or loses it in a very small 
degree, the division of power only produces a multiplication of tyrants, 
while their union in a democratic form of government enables them, at 
will, to combine their tyrannies on any particular object, so as to render 
the operation ten times more intense than it ever can be when lodged in 
the hands of a single individuaL You may stare, reader, but it is all very 


true I can assure you, and if you want an exemplification of it you have 
nothing to do but to look to France, where the tyranny of the multitude 
is even now being exercised — it matters not what devil is at the bottom 
of it, pride, vanity, or avarice — where the tyranny of the multitude, I 
say, is being exercised upon kings and statesmen, compelling them to 
violate the dictates of their own consciences, the strongest moral obli- 
gations, and the laws of justice, religion, and honour — for what? For 
the purpose of frustrating the efforts which men have been 
making for more than half a century to abolish slavery, and put 
down the hellish infamy of a traffic in human flesh. Long live demo- 
cracy and democratic forms, we have now seen the experiment tried in 
almost every different shape, and we have never seen it produce aught 
else but a political fever, the hot fit of anarchy, succeeded by the cold 
fit of apathy, followed generally by a sweat of blood, and the whole, at 
each fresh paroxysm, destroying the strength of the patient — moral, 
commercial, political — and tending to the utter dissolution of social life. 

Human nature is not to be trusted with power, and the fewer hands 
you place it in the better, for the fewer tyrants will you create by its 
use. The only approximation that ever could be made towards good 
government, in which the people's voice might have a share, would 
be where the monarch was purely absolute within certain limits, and the 
law purely absolute and immutable beyond those limits — the law 
enacted by the whole people once for all — a power in the monarch to 
punish the people for a violation of the law, and a power in the people 
to pimish the monarch if he infringed it. It is certainly a Utopian 
dream which can never be realized ; but so long as law and government 
are continually subject to the fiddling alterations of the ignorant, the 
vain, and the interested — so long as the passions of the people rather 
than their reason are represented in parliament, and each man's selfish- 
ness and folly finds a voice in the state — so long will the government 
be the mere object of party strife, the good of the people the last object 
sought for, each measure proposed be carried or frustrated by self- 
interest, and justice and right, however well distributed between man and 
man, be totally forgotten where the state is concerned — so long will 
corruption putrify at the base of the representative system, a man's con- 
science be sold like the carcase of a sheep, and, as the crowning infamy 
of all, a seat in the legislature be worth a couple of thousand pounds. 
Oh, that dark and horrible blot upon English history, that irrefutable 
libel upon our national honour and virtue, that dark and damning stain 
upon our name for ever, that no man can hope to be returned by the 
pure suffrages of his fellow-countrymen without opening his purse or 
flattering their passions. We are a nation of shopkeepers indeed, when 
even our consciences are exposed for sale ! 

No man is to be entrusted with power, for the very fact of possessing it 
begets an inclination to abuse it ; ay, and even the author who has got an 
unfortunate reader under his clutches, feels the strongest possible dispo- 
sition to torment him even to the verge of resistance. With all the mate- 
rials of the Chevalier de Lunatico under our hands, you cannot tell, reader, 
how we are tempted to take you away bodily and put you upon the tread- 
mill of new scenes and new characters altogether, to rack you with impa- 


tience to know what became of Laura and Joey Pike, to leave you in 
ignorance of what was the call upon Mr. Longshanks, and to keep you 
in suspense as to the voice from the garden. But no ! on account and 
in consideration of the dissertation which we have inflicted on you con- 
cerning good government, in not one word of which do we expect you 
to agree, we will be merciful and forgive you the rest, though you are 
in our power and have never offended us. But the question is, which 
of the three threads of our story shall we follow ? We are, it is true, 
like rope-makers, twisting them all into one as busily as possible, but 
still they are separate at present, and which shall we deal with first ? 
It ought to be the doctor, I fear — he is the person of most importance ; 
and yet it is necessary to bring all our characters up to the same point 
of time, and therefore, notwithstanding his gravity ^nd wisdom, we will 
leave Mr. Longshanks whipping his beast along the road, and pursue 
the momentous history of Laura Longmore and Mademoiselle Brochet, 
as they are nearly six-and-thirty hours behind the rest of the characters. 

The reader is well aware, from the account we have given of Jerry 
Tripe's dream and its results, that the worthy butler, issuing forth in a 
state of picturesque dishabille, was suddenly struck and astounded by 
the sight of Laura Longmore standing at the table in his pantry. With 
the person of the young lady he was not particularly well acquainted, 
having only seen her once since she was a mere child, which was on the 
memorable night of the fire. He might, however, have recollected her 
had he seen her in her own dress, in the full light, and in his full senses. 
But in the first place Laura was dressed in habiliments that Jerry Tripe 
could not have supposed her to have procured ; in the next place, the 
light was dull, and coming in from behind her ; in the third place, Jerry 
Tripe's brain was in a whirl which left no object round him very dis- 
tinct ; and lastly, by the impulse of the moment Laura drew the hood 
of the mantilla completely over her head and face. Jerry neither 
stopped to clear his eyes, nor asked any questions, neither did he turn 
his head to the right or the left to look for Joey Pike behind the door ; 
but out he went like a shot out of a cannon's mouth, and, to speak the 
truth, the impulse which made him bang to the door was like many ano- 
ther successful movement made by a retreating army, more the effect 
of fear than strategy. 

What was the consternation of Laura, however, when she saw 
the door shut, and heard the key turn. It was a terrible moment ; 
all sorts of apprehensions and anxieties attacked her at once, all 
possibility of escape seemed at an end, the rest of the servants would 
be soon roused, the peer himself would soon be informed of the fact, 
she would be caught locked up in the butler's pantry with a man dressed 
up as a woman — she felt keenly what a story might be made out against 
her, and a strong inclination to cry bitterly came upon her. Joey Pike 
himself was a little disconcerted. For once — for the only time in his life 
—he felt like a fish out of water ; but the weakness passed away in an 
instant. The conscious resources of genius, the power of triumphing 
over fate and circumstances, the sight of Laura's tears, the spirit of chi- 
valry, the moral dignity of high and virtuous purposes, soon restored 
him to his self-possession — and Joey was himself again ! 


" Do not fear, Miss Laura," he exclaimed ; " soyez tranquilly, we 
will find some means of escape ; ay, and even should the viscount, the 
Bear of Outrun Castle as the people call him, present himself before we 
camfugir, I will confront him — I will tell a petit mot. But what should 
prevent us," he continued, stretching out his left arm to the full towards 
the window, and bringing his right across his breast so as to point in 
the same direction — " but what should prevent us from taking advan- 
tage of the fenaitre ? We are upon the ray de chaiLssie" 

" But the bars, the bars !" said Laura, in a despairing tone. 

" Ha, the bars !" cried Joey Pike ; " noiis sommes grilles. But 
let us see, perhaps we can remove the bars :" and mounting upon the 
table, Joey threw open the window and tried the iron grating which 
defended the sanctuary of Jerry Tripe. He gave it a good hearty 
shake, he pulled, he pushed, but he pulled and pushed in vain. Not 
the slightest impression was made upon the stubborn metal, although 
to encourage himself in the deed he sang, sotto voce, as he called it, 
" Locks, bolts, and bars, fly asunder." Nothing flew asunder at all, and 
Joey Pike descended to try another of his never-ending resources ; but 
a man of genius unfortunately often finds himself cramped for want of 
means, and such was the case with Joey Pike. He tried the other 
window in the bed-room — it was as firm as the first ; he examined the 
door — the lock resisted all his efforts. For an hour he devised schemes 
and abandoned them, and Laura sat her down in a state of deep dejec- 
tion, her only support under which was indignation at being placed in 
such a situation in consequence of her unjust detention in Outrun 

" I will tell you what," exclaimed Joey at length, " when he comes 
back I will frighten both him and his lord. I will expose this letter to 
their eyes, I will claim my just rights, and see what they will have to 

Laura sighed, but made no answer ; and as the sweet breath of spring 
came through the window which Joey Pike had left open, she longed 
more and more for her liberty. At length, however, she said in a 
low voice — 

" Hark !" there is some one talking." 

Joey instantly bounded upon the table like an antelope, and looked 
out of the window, which, we should have explained to the reader, was 
a high one. A moment after he descended, waving his hand gracefully, 
and saying — 

" Deux femmes de chamhre /" 

" Let me see, let me see," exclaimed Laura, turning a wistful eye 
from the window to the table, and not exactly liking to rise into such 
an elevated position. Joey Pike, however, saw her difficulty in a mo- 
ment, and seizing the table with one hand — he would not have touched 
it with two for the world, for it would have put him in an ungraceful 
attitude — he drew it back from the window, and clasping the back of 
a chair with his sinister digits, he pushed it forward into such a position 
that Laura could mount and look out without showing her ancles. 

" I think," said our pretty little friend as she ascended, " that if either 
of the maids who wait upon me is there, she will let me out." 

C. — NO. VIII. R 


" Secooro ! secooro /'* said Joey Pike, " non e possihily resistar" 

At the moment that Laura put her face to the grating, the poor girl 
Jane — who was a very good girl upon the whole, notwithstanding a few 
peccadilloes, as weak as water it is true, but all made of emotions, ten- 
dernesses, and affections, and possessing enough of such commodities 
to have supplied a great portion of the peerage, where, as the reader well 
knows, there is some lack of them — The poor girl Jane, I say, after 
having enjoyed a gossip of three minutes and three-quarters with her 
friend Sally, who had just called her a fool for something she had said, 
and walked away — The poor girl Jane — I shall never get to the end of 
the sentence, I do believe ; you do not know, dear reader, how difficult 
it is to finish a period when a thousand little adjuncts and parenthetical 
appendices will come poking their snug snouts in, deranging all your 
figures of rhetoric, like pigs grubbing up a flower-garden — The poor 
girl Jane, I say, for the fifth time — and now I am determined to go on, 
and not suffer myself to be seduced away continually from the main 
subject — The poor girl Jane, then, having finished her gossip with Sally, 
was walking along within a yard of the spot where Laura stood. 

" Jane, Jane," cried Laura. 

The upper housemaid started, and had well nigh shrieked aloud, for 
her nerves were in such a state of excitement that the slightest unexpected 
sound seemed like the voice of her great grandmother calling to her out 
of the grave. When she turned round, however, and saw Laura's face, 
which the reader must remember had been washed of the blue and white 
paint, with the hood now thrown back so as to expose her whole head 
with its rich brown tresses, she contented herself with exclaiming — 

*' Good gracious me 1" 

"Come closer, come closer," said Laura in an under- voice; and 
Jane approached, observing — 

" Lord, miss, who would have thought to see you in Jerry Tripe's 
pantry ?" 

" He has locked me in," said Laura — " he has locked me in while I 
was trying to make my escape. Pray do let me out, and I will go back 
again to my own room indeed." 

Jane paused and gazed in her face with a bewildered look ; but sud- 
denly a glance of intelligence, ay, and of satisfaction, came up in the 
poor girl's countenance, and she exclaimed — 

"Trying to make your escape? Go back again to your room? 
Then you don't want to stay here and marry Mr. Fitzurse ?" 

" Marry Mr. Fitzurse ?" cried Laura. " Why I abhor him." 

Jane tossed her head with a little look of indignation, for her feel- 
ings upon the subject were very different from Laura's ; but the young 
lady continued in the same tone — 

" Stay here ? I would give five hundred pounds to get away I** 

" Stop, stop," said Jane, " I will let you out. We must make haste, 
we must make haste — I saw the old sot's face a minute ago up at the 
window of the lad's room shaving himself. I'll go round and let you 

But, alas, when Jane came and put her hand upon the lock, the key 
was not in it ! A momentary pause of be^^ ilderment and uncertainty 


took place. Nobody said a word either on the one side of the door or 
the other. But at length Jane put her mouth to the key-hole and 
Avhispered — 

" Stay a minute, the boy's got his coat to brush in the knife-house, 
perhaps the key's in that ;" and away she ran as hard as she could go. 

Composing her face before she entered the knife-house, and with her 
wits all quickened by the influence of various passions, Jane walked 
quietly in, and found the lad of sixteen who did every thing for every 
body in the house, carefully brushing the best small-clothes of Jerry 
Tripe, and whistling as happily as if he had nothing to do in the world. 

" I say. Jack," cried Jane, "I wish you'd go and get me a pitcher 
of water from the park well — there's a good soul." 

" That I will, Miss Jane," replied the boy, who had a great respect 
for prettiness, and wished he was a butler for Jane's sake. " Just let 
me brush these out, and take them up to Mr. Tripe, and I will go for 
it in a minute." 

"Oh, he doesn't want them directly," answered Jane; "you know he's 
always an hour shaving, for fear of cutting off the warts upon his face." 

" He's up in my room shaving to-day," said the boy, looking in Jane's 
pretty face with tender admiration. 

" Well, well," cried Jane, " run, there's a good fellow, and I'll brush 
the coat for you in the meanwhile." 

" You can send up the girl with them when they're ready," said the 
lad, " and then he won't grumble." 

Away went Jack as soon as he had uttered these words, and the mo- 
ment his back was turned, in went Jane's hand into the two pockets of 
Mr. Tripe's coat, one after the other. No key was there. One chance 
remained — there lay the small-clothes. Jane touched them with reve- 
rence, and had just ascertained that there was something heavy in the 
right-hand pocket, when she heard a step. Casting down the small- 
clothes, she seized the brush and began upon the coat as if she would 
have torn it all to pieces. 

" Where's the pitcher, Jane ?" said the boy putting in his head. 

" In my closet. Jack, in my closet," replied Jane, brushing away 
with great trepidation ; " you know, my lord always will have the park- 
well water, and the herd has forgotten to bring it this morning." 

" I'll fetch it, I'll fetch it," replied Jack ; and the next minute Jane 
heard him whistling along across the court to the place of his desti- 

That instant she grasped the breeches, she felt in the pocket, she 
produced the key, and with an hysterical laugh of joy and satisfaction 
she darted away to the pantry, unlocked the door, and cried — 

" Come out, miss, come out, be quick." 

When her eyes fell upon Mademoiselle Brochet, however, for an 
instant poor Jane was like to drop. Laura, without being at all aware 
that there was any skilfulness in the manoeuvre, had entered into no 
long explanations in her conversation with the maid from the window, 
in regard to her having a companion in imprisonment, and Jane looked 
almost as reproachfully at her as if she had taken her in. But the cap' 
tive set free paid little attention to her deliverer's looks, exclaiming — 


" Now, now, which way can we escape ?" 

" Good gracious 1" cried Jane, " what's to be done ? I thought 
there was only you, miss, and now there's two instead of one. Escape ? 
Why you'll be caught to a certainty if you attempt to escape just 
now. The people are getting all about the place. What's to be done 
I wonder ? Well, well, I must lock the door and put the key back at 
all events, or we shall all be found out. Run you into the housekeeper's 
room, and lock yourselves in. She won't be down for an hour, and I'll 
come back directly. It is just up the passage, and then " 

" I know the way, I know the way," cried Joey Pike. " Siveevy 
moh Ma'amselle Laure, Sweevy moh sweevy moi" 

Jane closed the door as soon as they were gone, rushed back to the 
knife-house, placed the key in one of Jerry Tripe's pockets, only mis- 
taking the coat for the breeches, sent the clothes up to their owner by 
" the girl ;" and then gently insinuated her thumb between her front 
teeth and gave it a contemplative bite. Jane fancied that she was 
devising a plan for Laura's escape ; but she made a mistake, as her 
first words will show. 

" How did she come to know the way to the housekeeper's room so 
well ?" said Jane. " I should not wonder if this was another of his ladies :" 
and away she went, with strong misgivings as to the reputation of 
Mademoiselle Brochet, and to some connexion between her and Mr. 

Two light taps and a whisper at the door of the housekeeper's 
room gained her admission, and Jane went to work more scientifically 
than might have been expected. Addressing herself at once to Laura, 
she said, " I am very willing to do all I can to help you, ma'am ; but I 
can't let this young person go, for I don't know who she is." 

Laura looked at Joey Pike with all the merry spirit that lit her eyes 
in days of old shining up in them again. " I see you have doubts, 
Jane," she said; "but I can assure you she is not a bad young 
woman at all." 

" Well, I can't let her go, Miss Longmore," replied Jane ; " and I 

" You won't, mon cher Jane ?" cried Mademoiselle Brochet, sailing 
up to her. " Oh, yes, you will : you be very good-natured creature, I 
is quite sure. You will let me go — dat's a good girl." 

" Keep your distance, ma'am, if you please," cried Jane. " I won't, 
that's positive ; and if you attempt to go, I'll scream, and then it's all 
up with you." 

" Oh, yes you will !" cried Mademoiselle Brochet: "let me give you 
one leetel pretty kiss off the cheek." 

" Why, goodness gracious !" cried Jane ; " my stars ! — If I don't 
believe Yes, it is ! — It's Joey Pike !" 

" Ay, you sweet creature now," cried Joey, " you would not betray 
your humble adorer and fellow-townsman — you would not denoncer 

" No, that I wouldn't, Joey," replied Jane : " I'm sure you're as 
innocent as a new-born babe." 

« Not quite, Janey," replied Joey Pike ; " but not quite a rouey 


either : and as for this matter of old Seapulary, I would not have hurt 
a hair of the old man's head — no, not for a kingdom." 

" I don't think you would," said Jane from the bottom of her heart ; 
" for you were always as good-natured a soul as ever lived. So you 
may go when you like ; now I know who you are, I don't care.'* 

" I dare say you don't,'* said Joey Pike, with a shrewd wink of the 
eye, which made the colour come up into Jane's face ; " but Miss 
Laura must go with me." 

" She'll be stopped to a certainty, if she attempts it," replied Jane. 
" It will be a great deal better for her to stay here one day more, and 
get away just after dusk to-night. I will contrive to bring her out of 
the house, and part of the way across the park, by the village path, if 
you will meet us, Joey." 

" I will do my impossible," answered Joey Pike ; " and I think it will 
be the best plan too. As for me, je m^en vats ; and if I meet Jerry 
himself, he dare not stop me pour tout le monde. Mademoiselle 
Laure, baso las manos a listed. Janey, I salute you ; but mind you 
keep your word, for if you don't we'll raise the country, and attack 
the house." 

Thus saying, Joey Pike departed; and Laura, after a short con- 
ference with her new friend, was guided back by the most silent and 
secret ways to her former chamber. 

Thus do all the miracles of ordinary life disappear, when they come 
to be investigated ; and thus do a number of wiseacres attempt to 
explain away the miracles recorded in Scripture, though they are only told 
us because they were miracles, and because the end and object to be 
obtained justified to the full the interposition of the Almighty power 
in order to reverse the ordinary course of nature, and stamp certain 
facts with Divine authority by displaying in them the hand of God 




" I'll sarve him out," cried the cook, " I'll sarve him out 1" 

And so she did ***t!***** 

" I say, Tom," cried the peer, as they sat at luncheon, after having 
eaten a very comfortable meal, "I think we must bury him to-morrow; 
it don't do to have a ghost and a corpse in the house at the same time ; 
besides, he must stink by this time, Tom. Don't you think so? lia!" 

246 THE COMxMiySlONER ; OR, 

« I have not the slightest doubt of it, ray lord," rejilied Tom 
Hamilton. " But how will you manage about the funeral ? all the 
undertakers and people must know." 

" Not they, not they," cried the peer. " By jingo, you're not half 
so clever a fellow as I thought you. We have got the coffin in already, 
man. Don't you see, when the fellow came to talk to me about the 
matter, I laid my finger by the side of my nose, and looking wonder- 
fully secret, I said that the peculiar and somewhat mysterious nature 
of the verdict given by the coroner's jury, required very great pre- 
cautions, and that therefore he must make me a coffin by guess without 
seeing the body. So then I winked at him, and he winked me, and 
then I slapped him on the back, and we parted, roaring with laughter ; 
I laughing at him and all the world, and he laughing because I laughed, 
and thinking me a very funny fellow." 

" But, my dear lord," said Tom Hamilton, " you do not keep up 
your character of a mourning father very well." 

" Can't be helped, Tom, can't be helped," replied the peer ; " it's 
the nature of some men ; it's their nature, I say, to laugh at the death 
of their nearest relations in their sleeves, if not in their pocket hand- 
kerchiefs. I dare say Freddy will do the same for me when my time 
comes. But 'pon my soul, I must go and see this little girl that we 
have got here. I have not visited the pretty prisoner for a long while, 
and she'll think me uncivil ; and as Fredd}' is coming down to-morrow, 
and nmst be introduced to her as his own cousin, we must smooth her 
down a bit." 

Tom Hamilton shook his head disapprovingly, but the peer exclaimed 
with some heat — 

" Stuff and nonsense, Tom ! By jingo, she shall marry him before 
she quits this house. Why it's the only way of saving the estate, and 
I've got her father's consent, you know\" 

" Not to keeping her here, and marrying her against her will, I 
should think," replied Tom Hamilton. 

" It's all the same, it's all the same," cried the peer, rising and moving 
towards the door. But before he reached it, he stopped, turned back, 
and took half a tumbler-full of wine, saying — " Why, Tom, I feel very 
queer at my stomach ! I am sickish — I am devilish sick — why, what's 
come to me? — Why I never was sick in my life!" and down he sat in 
a chair. 

Tom Hamilton moved towards the cellaret, and brought out a bottle 
of brandy. 

" Curacoa, Tom," cried the viscount in a faint voice ; " cura9oa is 

Tom Hamilton moved back again, with a solemn step, and got the 

" Why what the devil are you so long about ?" cried the peer ; " I 
shall vomit before you come — what makes you so slow ?" 

" Because I'm as sick as you are," answered Tom Hamilton, in a 
dolorous tone. 

" It's those beastly truffles," said the peer, looking at a dish that 


stood Upon the table : " they always do make me dream of paving- 
stones, when I eat them." 

" I don't know what it is," replied Tom Hamilton, setting down the 
bottle, and making a quick march towards the door ; " I don't know 
what it is, but I must go." 

He came back in about five minutes, with a face very while, and 
eyes very red, looking somewhat like a cockney young lady at the end 
of a delightful aquatic excursion. 

" I shall be better now," he said, filling himself out a wine-glassfull of 
curagoa, the bottle containing which had suffered a considerable dimi- 
nution in weight since last he handled it. 

" I am a little better," rejoined the peer ; " give me a wine-glassfull 
of the stuff", Tom." 

" What ! haven't you had any ?" cried Tom Hamilton. 
" Oh, yes, a tumbler-full," replied the peer ; " but it is no use doing 
things by halves. Here, Jerry Tripe," he continued, as the butler at 
that moment entered the room, " take away those cursed truffles, and 
tell the cook not to send up any more. I am better now, Tom ; I 
am a devilish deal better now; so I'll go and see pretty Laura 

" Had you not better let me go, my lord ?" said Tom Hamilton ; 
** you want a little rest. What between ghosts and truffles, maids and 
cura9oa, you've had rather an active day of it. I'll be your deputy, 
with a great deal of pleasure." 

"No, no, you dog," cried the peer; "what between your black 
whiskers and your white face, you'd frighten her. Why, Tom, what's 
come to you ? Take another glass of liqueur ; you look like a sick 
sheep or a white-faced rook. No, my lad, no ; you were born for a 
poacher, but you shan't fire a gun upon Freddy's manor at all events 
till he's down here himself to look after the game." 

Thus saying, the peer walked out of the room, and Tom Hamilton 
set himself down to think for a moment, taking the peer's advice with 
regard to the cura9oa. Now Tom Hamilton, with all his faults, was a 
man of honour, and as some great philosophers have defined man to be 
nothing but a receptacle for putting ideas into, in his case there were a 
great many good things in the bottom of the bag, although there was 
a good deal of rubbish at the top. It had never entered into the 
imagination of Tom Hamilton hitherto that he might set Laura Long- 
more free, deliver her from the Fitzurse faction, establish a claim upon 
her gratitude, and perhaps carry off" a nice little rich wife, to the dis- 
comfiture of his noble host, and the disappointment of his honourable 
friend. But the peer did the most impolitic thing in the world ; he 
put all this into Tom Hamilton's head in a minute. By suggesting to 
the mind of any man, an evil action, whether we present it in the shape 
of a suspicion of his intentions, or a temptation to his virtue, we plant 
in his heart a seed which will germinate sooner than we generally 
believe, which will shoot out roots almost impossible to be eradicated, 
and which will always have the devil at hand to water it, and hoe it, 
and dress it, and tend it, and plant a pea-stick for it to creep up till it 
needs no farther attention. 

248 THE commissioner; or. 

In a single minute Tom Hamilton's mind had clearly perceived that 
it was almost an act of duty upon his part to assist in freeing 
Laura Longmore— that she was unjustly detained— that he was 
actually conniving at a very abominable transaction. In the next 
place, his friend'' Fitzurse was under a very serious engagement 
to poor little Jane, and therefore it was but just and right to 
her to remove this temptation from his way. He had promised, 
too, to do every thing in his power to induce Mr. Fitzurse to keep 
his oaths and engagements, whether manuscript or vocal; and how 
was this to be done without putting a bar between him and Laura 
Longmore? She was pretty, very pretty, he had heard: the peer 
had vowed that she had the neatest little foot and ankle in the 
world, and had talked of the bare skin of her instep as if it had 
been an oyster. Tom Hamilton was fond of pretty women — a hetle 
too fond perhaps ; but he flattered himself that he would make a 
very good husband notwithstanding ; and he was not mistaken. He 
was a handsome fellow too, and an amusing one — of both which 
points he was quite well aware ; and thus, all things considered, 
Laura's good was as much consulted as that of any one. The 
peer, too, might get himself into a desperate scrape if the thing 
were to go on; and Fitzurse might get himself hanged, for Laura 
was an heiress, and forced marriages with heiresses were in those 
days somewhat severely dealt with. In fact, with a facility truly 
wonderful every argument for using his advantages to the utmost 
rose up in Tom Hamilton's mind ; and then, to conclude the whole, 
came the thought of what a nice thing it is to marry an heiress. 
The vision of a beautiful little curricle, with two bright thorough- 
bred bays of about fifteen hands high, with a cross bar as bright 
as a sunbeam, and a black and silver harness, whirling him through 
the park, with a sweet girl with a lace veil by his side, presented 
itself to Tom Hamilton's imagination ; and he was in the act of 
asking himself what was to be done, when the voice of the viscount 
at its very highest pitch came echoing through the whole house, 
and reached the dining-room where Tom Hamilton was sitting. At 
the same time the ringing of the state-room bell, as if its clapper 
would have gone mad, was heard far and wide. 

" Jerry ! Jane ! Sally ! John ! Peter 1 Tom ! Wilson !" shouted the 
viscount. " Tom Hamilton ! Tom Hamilton ! Why, what the devil 
is this ?" 

Tom darted out through the dining-room doorway, up the stairs, 
and into Laura's room as fast as he could go. The first object his 
eyes lighted upon was the viscount in a state of absolute frenzy. He 
had been somewhat irritable all day ; the scene with the maids had 
not tranquillized him; the ghost had rather increased his rage; the 
sickness had not pleased him, and the curagoa had not tended to calm. 
His red nightcap — an object on which passions were apt to vent them- 
selves — had been torn violently from his head and cast under his feet, 
and he was now engaged in the pleasant and intellectual occupation of 
stamping upon it vehemently, as if that was the only way to relieve 
his mind. 


" Why, what's the matter, my lord ?" exclaimed Tom, as soon as he 
beheld them. " Where is the youDg lady ?" 

" She's gone, she's off, by jingo," cried the peer, " she's departed. 
Hang me, if ever I saw such a thing in my life. Jerry, you scoundrel, 
the girl's gone off. What the deuce is to be done now ? Jane, how 
did this happen? Sally, have you had any hand in helping her? 
Run, Peter, like lightning, you have the longest legs in the house, 
and tell all the grooms and the coachman to saddle horses and to . 
gallop like fury to the park gates, and to the stile near the village. 
Keep watch, and let nobody pass that is not known. Who saw her 
last ?" 

" I did, I suppose, my lord," said Jane, " for I came to do the room 
about twelve, after all that fuss was over." 

" Ah ! you little jade," cried the peer, shaking his fist at her, " are 
you sure she was here then ?" 

" Quite sure, my lord," answered Jane, " for I saw her and talked 
to her, and I locked the door after me quite carefully." 

" Has any one else seen her ?" cried the peer. 

" Yes, my lord, I saw her," said Sally, with her pert air. " I 
saw her about half-past nine when I brought up the breakfast, and 
had a long chat with her too, and she said to me, says she, * What 
a great shame it is I should be kept here in this way ;' and so, says 
I, < that it is, miss.' " 

"D — ^n what you said!" cried the peer; "d — n what she said! 
You said, and she said, and you talked like two great fools. 
Have you seen her since, I say?" 

« No, that I haven't," said Sally, " for I had enough to do 
this morning with all the noise and the fuss that was made about 
nothing at all. So Jane had to do this room while I did Mr. 

" They will drive me mad amongst them,'* cried the peer. " Some 
one must have let her out." 

" Hallo !" cried Tom Hamilton, who had approached the window, 
"here are the sheets tied together and fastened to the bar of the 
window. She has let herself down! By Jove! I like that girl, 
she is up to any thing! Come, come, my lord, don't fume and 
fret; perhaps it's as well as it is. You know if you had forced 
her to marry Fitzurse against her will they might have hanged you." 

" Hanged me ?" cried the peer ; " I should like to see them." 

" Feel them, you mean, my lord," said Tom Hamilton ; " few men 
see themselves hanged. I never heard of any one but the looking- 
glass maker, who fell in love with the reflection of himself, and com- 
mitted suicide in the midst of his own shop." 

" Tom, you're a noodle," cried the peer. " Let them bring me 
out a horse, and bring Mr. Hamilton's too : we'll gallop over all the 
country and see if we can catch her till dinner-time; if we can't, 
we'll come back, eat our dinner, have a pot of caviare, a couple 
of bottles of claret, and finish the night over such a bowl of punch 
as will keep all the ghosts in Europe at a mile's distance for fear 
of singeing their whiskers." 






Mademoiselle Brochet tripped out of the principal back door of 
Outrun Castle with her usual elegant and graceful wriggle, not for- 
getting her attitudes even though she turned to gaze around her 
to ensure that none of the rude alguazils of the place were in pursuit 
of her. Gradually, however, as she went on undisturbed, her mind 
became more composed. She slackened her pace, which was at first 
somewhat rapid ; when half across the park, she untied the strings of 
her bonnet ; a little farther on, she stopped and tied her garter ; then 
looked round with a timid and fluttered look, put her hand before her 
face, and exclaimed — 

" La ! suppose any body had seen me !" 

Within the walls of Outrun Castle she had occasionally forgotten 
herself, but now she was all Mademoiselle Brochet again from top 
to toe. 

" Dear me," she said, as she walked on, " it be very early. La Belle 
Muggins will be shock at me staying out all de night — thfnk me 
naughty gal — say I commit faux-pas. I wonder if dey be up yet ? 
I tink I call upon la charmante Scapulaire. She early woman, Sca- 
pulaire — she out very early dat mornin' to fetch her husband milk when 
somebody come to hang him — vary agreeable dat, vary nice — not 
pleasant be dere and see him hang — oh no, no ; but I do tink she 
have fingare in de pye, and we find de gravy on it before we are 

Thus saying, she tripped on, crossed the stile, passed the pons Tripi, 
and looked at the windows of Mrs. Scapulaire's cottage. The shutters 
were shut, however, and Mademoiselle Brochet was directing her steps 
onward towards the Half Moon, when the sounds of voices in the church- 
yard arrested her attention and her steps at the same time. They were 
the sweet sounds of merry voices in the sports of youth — the sounds 
that come to every ear and every age with some bland and dear asso- 
ciation — that call to fellow infancy to come and join the joyous game — 
that in manhood wake parental tenderness and love, and the soft spirit 
throned in the inmost heart for purposes the holiest and most bright ; 
and in declining age rouse the memories of that early day when the 
now setting sun of life first dawned in all her past-by splendour — the 
sounds that to the calm and virtuous heart speak like the tongues of 
angels from the skies, communing with the spirits of the pure below — 
sounds that may call the worldly and the selfish away from their moral 
dross to holier and to higher things, by the sole di^ ine feeling that 


exists in every breast — the sounds that from the hard heart of guilt 
itself may wring the tears of penitence, and give back the light of hope 
by bringing back the feelings of a better time, arid proving virtue not 
entirely dead — the voices of children at their play. 

He heard them, and, light and wayward, vain and somewhat careless 
as he was, the sounds were pleasant to his ear, stirring up deeper thoughts. 
" Ay, I remember well the time," he said, " when I used to stop upon 
the church-yard path and play at marbles with my school-fellows, with 
the graves all round us and the long grass waving green. Ay, I re- 
member it well. Those were happy days. I Mill go and see what the 
virchins are about." 

Walking up gracefully to the church-yard stile Joey crossed it, and 
then seated himself on the top bar, looking a somewhat disconsolate 
damsel, it must be confessed, in his character of Mademoiselle Brochet. 
About ten yards before him, on the broad gravel path formed of smooth, 
well-beaten pebbles, was a group of four or five boys, some playing at 
taw-in-the-ring, some looking on. There was laughing and there was 
joking mixed up with two of the great ingredients of boy-life — teazing 
and bullying ; and ever and anon there w^as a little bit of something which 
approached to conversation. Joey Pike, unremarked, listened with 
all his ears, longing to be a boy again, and — like Adam, just when he 
was walking away from the gate of the garden of Eden, wishing with 
all his heart that he had never tasted of the tree of knowledge — a 
bitter and unwholesome fruit to most men, with a stone at the heart 
of it. 

" I am sure you never did, in all your life," said a boy of thirteen to 
a boy of twelve. " Come, let us see you. If you did it before you can 
do it now." 

" No, I can't," replied the other boy ; " but I did do it, though. It 
hit this one, and then that one, and then bounced off and knocked that 
one out of the ring." 

" It's a lie I'm sure," rejoined the other boy. " Why, I've been here 
every morning, and I didn't see you, so I'm sure it's a lie." 

" You might have seen me if you had liked," answered the other ; 
" but you was up in the chesnut tree, for it was that day that old 
Scap was murdered, and just when Tom Smalldram the tinman and 
rabbit-seller was coming by." 

" Ah, he gave it a kick, I dare say," said the boy, who was resolved 
not to be convinced. 

*' No, he didn't," replied another strippling of eleven or thereabouts, 
"for he didn't come near us at all ; he turned off by old Mother Crump's 
grave, and jumped over the wall at the corner there." 

" Ah !" said Mademoiselle Brochet ; and after the conversation had 
proceeded to two or three more attacks and rejoinders, she called to 
her the lesser of the two disputants, saying — 

" Come here. Master Jones. How do you do ? how do your 
mother ?" 

" Very well, thank ye, ma'am," said the boy, walking up shily and 
making his bow. 


*' So you know goot Meester Smalldram. He vary well, I hope ? 
Wlien you see him last ?" 

" I don't know, ma'am," replied the boy. " I see him that ere day as 
old Scap were murdered. He come across here at a great rate." 

" He very busy that morning, I dare say ?" replied Mademoiselle 

"Why, I saw him come out of old Scap's house," rejoined the biggest 
boy. " 1 dare say he was going to fetch a doctor. So mother said when 
I told her. I was up in the horse-chesnut tree, getting down the 
blossoms, and he came out and over the stile in a great hurry." 

" Ay, you very nice boy, indeed," said Mademoiselle Brochet. 
" What your name ?" 

" I am Ned Bellasis, the blacksmith's son," replied the boy. 

" And I'm Tommy Wilson," said the little one who had seen Master 
Smalldram's saltation of the wall. 

"Ah! all vary goot boys, indeed," said Mademoiselle Brochet, 
putting her hand in her reticule, and bringing out a quantity of half- 
pence. " There's someting for you to buy marble. Goot mornin', goot 
mornin'. Share dem amongst you. Come, come, Meester Bellows-us, 
you divide it fair. I vill not have you take treepence and give de leetle 
boy one halfpenny a-piece." 

Thus saying, she made the distribution herself; and then, re-crossing 
the stile, advanced to the door of Mrs. Scapulary*8 house, which was 
now open, as well as the windows. Mademoiselle Brochet was too well 
acquainted with the character of the sort of person she represented 
to affect the slightest delicacy in the world. She knew it was only 
necessary to put on an air and a grace, and a look of perfect self- 
satisfaction, in order to do the most impudent thing in Europe without 
violating any of the unities ; and thus she sailed into the cottage of 
Mrs. Scapulary with the sweetest and most benignant smile in the 
world upon her countenance, seeming to think that her early visit was 
conferring the greatest possible favour upon that excellent lady. Mrs. 
Scapulary, however, did not think so at all, and looked as if she did 
not think it, but Mademoiselle Brochet was cased in the armour of a 
French waiting-maid, and it must be a sharp look, indeed, to pierce 
through that panoply. 

"Ah! Madame Scapulaire," she said, "how you do since yesterday? 
I hope you was quite well." 

Mrs. Scapulary said internally, " None the better for seeing of you j" 
but the external woman only flounced, and she said — 

" I'm well enough ; what should make me otherwise ?" 

" Ah, you don't know," said Miss Brochet — " you don't know what 
may be doing in de world to make you udderwise. Vary shocking, 
vary shocking, indeed — terrible man, dat Smalldram — shocking man, 
'pon my life !" 

No cameleon ever turned half the colours that were displayed by 
Mrs. Scapulary's countenance at that moment, but it ended in very 
much the natural hue of the reptile aforesaid, namely, a dull, ashy 
grey. Now, Mrs. Scapulary was not altogether a virtuous woman ; 


she was not. as pure as a member of parliament ; she had not know- 
ingly never committed " any corrupt practices ;" she had committed a 
few peccadilloes — with all her wits about her and a great deal of good 
fun she had got out of them ; and, as usual, the fears and apprehensions 
of detection which lie watching for their prey by the side of the high- 
road of wickedness had occasionally run after Mrs. Scapulary and 
caught hold of her too. However, as every one knows, time and prac- 
tice get rid of such apprehensions ; and before she had come down to 
the village of Outrun she was pretty well clear of all fears concerning 
ordinary sins and wickedness ; but there is a fact, which perhaps the 
reader does not know, which is, that every fresh and unaccustomed 
crime brings its own train of terrors along with it. You might have 
talked of adultery, fraud, swindling, cheatery, for an hour in Mrs. 
Scapulary's presence without making her fidget upon her chair ; but 
she had lately entered upon a new line of business, and her conscience, 
although it was a battered hack, which you might flog till you were 
weary on most parts of the body, had a raw about the neck which 
would not bear flipping. The very name of Mr. Smalldram and 
wickedness instantly produced a palpitation of the heart and a tremulous 
movement of the hands which was not unobserved by Miss Brochet. 
The widow became civil in an instant ; she put a chair for mademoi- 
selle ; she asked if she had breakfasted ; she begged she would take 
a cup of tea with her; the water, she said, would boil in a few 

" I vill take von leetle cup of tea," said Mademoiselle Brochet ; " but 
I tought it would just bepolis — vat you call polite, my dear — to come 
and give you von leetle bit of warnin* dat Smalldram be von vary 
wicked, ugly man, and let you take your measure accordingly. If 
you marry Smalldram all peeple talk vary mush — he talk himself too 
mush — As de lady say in de play widin de play, dat is in Hamlet, * None 
wed de second but who kill de first.' Ah ! Smalldram, he be not von 
man dat I would trust ; and den there be Joey Pike, beautiful Joey 
Pike, he who loof you so mush, he break his heart if you marry 

" Lord ! Miss Broachey," cried Mrs. Scapulary, " what can you mean 
about Joey Pike, and how can you know ?" 

" Ah, Joey great friend of mine," replied Mademoiselle Brochet ; 
" he be in service wid von gentleman while I was kept by anoder 
gentleman and lady in Eetaly. How I know ? why all de peeple say 
here he murder old Scap, as dey call him, all for loof of you." 

"Oh, I'm sure he didn't murder him," said Mrs. Scapulary, who 
had now made up her mind to her conduct, " at least I don't think 
so now. I shouldn't wonder if Smalldram had, but that's between you 
and I, Miss Broachey. I know he was about the place that morning, 
for I saw him scuttling away just as I was coming back with the milk. 
I'll go and tell the magistrates about it immediately after breakfast, and 
then they can do as they like." 

" It might be good," said Mademoiselle Brochet, thoughtfully ; 
** he just the man I should fancy to say you do it, if you don't say he." 


" Say I did it !" exclaimed Mrs. Scapulary. " Lord, Miss Broachey I 
That would be a lie indeed. Poor dear old man, to think that I would 
strangle him !— I that had nursed him so tenderly !" 

" Ah, vary wicked man, vary shocking wicked man indeed, dat 
Smalldram," replied Mademoiselle Brochet ; " there be no knowing 
what he say next ; but if I be you, Meestress Scapulaire, I would 
do what your English Jack sailor call vork to vindvard of him, dat 
I would." 

"So I will," muttered Mrs. Scapulary to herself; "that's no bad 
advice neither. Now, my dear, cut yourself some bread and butter, 
and I'll make the tea. You've heard this wicked man say something, 
I suppose ?" 

" Oh no, not heard nothing," answered the French lady, "only just 
de peeple say he have got great quantity of money just now — dat 
he brag about his reeches, swear he marry you, and be vary reech man 

" Ay, indeed, he reckons without his host," said Mrs. Scapulary ; 
" but I'll do what I have said, upon my honour." 

" Veil, I tink you quite right," replied Mademoiselle Brochet ; " you 
go tell magistrates dat he did it — make all de peeple believe you did 
not do it yourself. Vary good plan, Meestress Scapulaire, vary good 
plan indeed." 

The conversation of Mademoiselle Brochet was decidedly painful to 
Mrs. Scapulary. In the first place, she never clearly understood what 
her fair companion was about; under her broken English came a 
thousand unpleasant little inuendoes, which kept her in a high state of 
uncomfortable excitement, and though she felt herself obliged to be 
civil, yet, to say the truth, she wished the worthy French lady as far 
at least as Hades. Mademoiselle Brochet understood the whole 
business very well, and found a sort of malicious satisfaction in 
teasing the fair widow. Thus she went on, rattling, laughing, talking, 
drinking tea, eating bread and butter, and every now and then throwing 
in some sly observation upon murder, manslaughter, gallows, execu- 
tions, trials, and imprisonments, till poor Mrs. Scapulary went through 
a thousand fevers with a shaking stage of fear and the hot stage of 
anger, till at length, under the influence of the latter crisis, she said to 
herself — 

" Well, my pretty girl, I'll give you a bone to pick. Ay," she con- 
tinued aloud, " they are terribly severe the people here ; take care they 
don't catch hold of you, mademoiselle, for I think it's but friendly to 
tell you that they're looking after you on account of the pocket-hand- 
kerchiefs and lace you talked about. You shouldn't speak of such 
things in every body's hearing, for the custom-house is very strict you 
know, and they say you are nothing better than a smuggler ; so they 
are going to have you up before the magistrates, examine your boxes, 
and see what you've got in them." 

Mademoiselle Brochet paid very little attention to the hint, for she 
was fully persuaded that Mrs. Scapulary was telling a lie ; but when 
she had taken leave of that lady, and had returned to her quarters at 


the Half Moon, she was visited by Mrs. Muggins, who shut the door 
with an air of some precaution, and exclaimed — 

" Why, Joey, here has been Tillman the constable inquiring a good 
deal about you and about your boxes. 

Joey looked somewhat surprised and dismayed. 

" I hope there's nothing in that bandbox of yours that you care 
about," continued Mrs. Muggins. 

" Alas ! there is, fair Muggins, alas ! there is," cried Joey, casting 
himself into the attitude of profound despair. " If they have got that 
box I am lost." 

" Why, what in the name of fortune is in it ?" exclaimed the landlady 
of the Half Moon. 

" My breeches !" sighed Joey, with tears in his eyes, " my breeches !" 

" Oh ! if that's all," said Mrs. Muggins, " there's no great harm 
done ; every woman looks to M^ear them at one time of her Ufe. They 
have not got the box, Joey ; but as it is smuggled goods I hear they 
are after, if you'll just keep out of the way during the day I'll let them 
take a peep into the box, and that will satisfy them, I dare say." 

" An extremely good plan, helle Muggins," replied Mademoiselle 
Brochet; "so I will just go out the back way through the garden, 
cross the meadow and the orchard, and then round into the lane 
again. I will find moyens to employ my time tiU evening. Adieu, 
adieu !" and with a graceful courtesy he quitted his fair landlady, 
and proceeded on his way. 

In telling a story, sweet and delectable reader, one of the greatest 
arts is to know what not to tell. Imagination, curious and busy 
jade that she is, likes to have a finger in every pie; and you 
had better let her or she will pout with you all through the book. 
Then, again, we are informed that the truth is not to be told at all 
times, so that if you have got any truth about you, bag it and 
keep it up, like a cottager's flitch of bacon, or an Arab's bag of 
dates, only to be used on high days and holydays, or like a bottle of 
choice anno domini, an especial treat for an ancient friend. Then, 
again, there are things which are mighty true and mighty reasonable, 
which might prove also mighty tedious, like a long discussion upon 
nothing at all, which you should never inflict upon the reader, except 
for the express purpose of teasing him; and there are many other 
things which an author ought to keep as secret as the inside of 
a diplomatist's portfolio. For which of the above-mentioned reasons 
it is quite unnecessary to state, but we shall keep to ourselves, without 
affording any explanation whatever, the whole of the proceedings of 
Joey Pike during the next eleven hours, twenty-four minutes, and 
fifteen seconds. 

It was just five minutes, forty-five seconds past nine o'clock, then, 
when Joey parted with Mrs. Muggins at the sign of the Half Moon, 
and now behold him, at half-past eight o'clock at night precisely, 
standing like a "Herald Mercury" on the top of the stile leading 
into Outrun Park, balanced on the tip of his right toe, with his 
left foot extended behind, his right hand slightly raised before, and 


a slight smile of sweet self-satisfaction on his lips to think how 
beautiful and graceful was his attitude. The next moment he de- 
scended with a bound into the park, and murmured to himself and 
of himself, " Gazelle !" 

The shades of night were falling, the sky was grey, the air was 
somewhat heavy, and at each step as Joey walked on darker and 
darker grew the hour and brighter grew his thoughts. The idea 
of delivering Laura from the giant of Outrun Castle made him 
feel himself quite a preux chevalier. He longed to cast off his 
petticoats and buckle on his armour, to do great and glorious 
deeds on behalf of the lady, and kick some Insolent clown attempt- 
ing to stop them, half way to the moon. By the time he had crossed 
one third of the park it was nearly dark, and when he had got 
about a quarter of a mile farther he began to think it odd that 
Laura did not appear. 

" Quelque empechementy^ he said, " I will stay under these trees 
and watch till she comes." 

In vain did he watch, in vain did he wait. Nine o'clock striking 
in the village was borne in soft sounds to his ear by the gentle south- 
westerly wind. Half-past nine — ten o'clock arrived. With a palpitating 
heart, with an agitated frame, with a discomposed mind, Joey waited 
till half-past ten, and then was calculating whether he should boldly 
make an assault upon Outrun Castle, or show that he had patience and 
resolution sufficient for a night watch, when he suddenly saw two per- 
sons coming along towards him at a very little distance. 

« 'Tis she,'^ he thought, " 'tis she !" 

But, heaven and earth ! what did he hear the next moment. 

" If you try to run a step or say a word," cried a rough man's voice, 
" I will knock you to pieces in an instant !" 

Joey Pike was astounded. These words were addressed to Laura, 
to Laura herself — pretty Laura Longmore — for there she evidently 
was, driven along towards the village of Outrun with a tall, powerful 
man following close at her heels. Prudence and chivalry made a sad 
struggle of it in Joey Pike's bosom, but chivalry got the better, for he 
started forward exclaiming — 

" Hallo ! Who you be ? What you is doing ?'* 

Alack ! the fate that sometimes falls on gallant men. Almost as he 
spoke, and before he could parry it, he received a blow between the 
eyes, and the next instant he was lying upon his back in the grass with 
very little inclination to get up again. 






When Laura was reinstated in her own chamber, after having escaped 
from the den of Jerry, or Jeremiah, Tripe, she sat down to consider 
whether she ought to congratulate or bemoan herself — whether to think 
herself very fortunate, or the most unlucky girl under the sun. It is not 
at all an uncommon predicament, reader, to be placed in, and indeed those 
questions might be applied to the heart of every human being a thousand 
times more frequently than they are asked ; for, as the old adage is 
very true, that '* all is not gold that glitters," so does it very often 
happen, that the most splendid occurrences which befall us in life are but 
misfortunes in a gilded garb ; while disappointment, and even sorrow, 
are not unfrequently but as the dewy mists of the morning, which cool 
the air and soften the ground, and produce fruits and flowers we little 
dream of. Oh ! many, many is the occasion in life when man weeps 
or laughs, and yet would do much better if he were to sit down and 
ask himself, " Am I really fortunate or unfortunate ?" 

Laura, however, had very self-evident causes for putting such ques- 
tions to herself, and, as is very usual with all the events which befall 
numanity, she found there was a little of both good and bad luck in 
all that had occurred to her during the preceding night. Very unlucky 
did she think herself in having her escape cut off at the very moment 
when it had been so well planned and arranged ; but very lucky in 
having got out of Jerry Tripe's ghost-trap, when there seemed not the 
slightest possible chance of such a consummation. She reflected, too, 
that all is not lost which is delayed ; and, as Jane had promised to aid 
her that very night — Jane, whose power to set her free she looked 
upon as absolute — Laura consoled herself by thinking that nothing could 
now prevent her from getting away from Outrun Castle in the most com- 
fortable manner possible. Alack-and-a-well-a-day, how we do reckon 
without our host in this good world of ours ! But we have spoken 
upon that part of the subject before, and as our wish indubitably is to 
get on, with the utmost rapidity, to the end of our tale, Me won't 
detain the reader in this place to descant upon the whims and vagaries 
of destiny. Laura settled the matter comfortably, then, in her own 
mind, that she should get away that very night, with Jane for a guide, 
and Joey Pike for a protection. But having had her natural rest 
somewhat abridged during the preceding night, and looking forward 
to more fatigue than her pretty little frame was accustomed to, she 
thought it would be a very comfortable plan to take a little more 

C. NO. IX. s 


repose while she could get it. Accordingly, having cast off all those 
incumbrances with which our unfortunate humanity has been loaded 
ever since our fair and frail ancestress, our ur alter mutter, Eve, was 
persuaded, by the grand originator of all blarney, to eat the forbidden 
apple, and get her husband into the same scrape as herself, Laura 
stepped into bed again just as the clock struck that single note which 
indicated that half an hour had past since the hour of seven. She 
laid down her head upon the pillow j she fancied that she would go to 
sleep, but she was mistaken, for her mind was too full of thoughts for 
the drowsy goddess to have power over her ; and she lay, revolving 
all those manifold images which dance before the mental eyes of a girl 
of nineteen. 

Now, it is probable that there is nobody in Europe, no, not Bulwer, 
nor James, nor Balzac, nor Hugo, nor Tick — nay, nor she who has un- 
sexed herself, and grafted on the weaknesses of woman the fiercer licen- 
tiousness of man — it is probable, I say, that nobody in Europe is able 
at all to describe what are the imaginings of a pure-hearted girl of nine- 
teen. But the Chevalier de Lunatico is a privileged person. Woman's 
thoughts are, to him, all open, and therefore we can tell exactly what 
were Laura's fancies, as she lay there and thought omnibus rebus et qui- 
husdam aliis. First in that vast category was the hope of speedily meet- 
ing those she loved again. Her father yes, reader, it was of her father 

she thought first ; for though if we had put the hard question to her, 
and insisted upon her answering it, which she loved best, her father or 
Harry Worrel, we should have agitated her a great deal, and in the 
end made her weep, which would be quite answer enough ; yet she 
thought of her father first upon a threefold principle — affection, 
habit, duty ; and she pictured to herself how glad he would be to see 
her, how his kind and good-natured heart would overflow — how, the very 
first night she returned to Ivy- Hall — she forgot it was burnt down — 
he would make her sit opposite to him in the soft, low sofa, in the 
corner, and take a hit at backgammon, and talk about the stars and 
electroscopes, and transit instruments ; and, warmed into tenderness at 
recovering her, would be in the best humour possible with the whole 
universe, would speak of Orion, and Lyra, and the Great Bear, as if 
they were dear friends, and would end by consenting to her marriage 
with Harry Worrel, or any body else she liked. 

Having got thus far, dear reader, it was an easy leap to think of Harry 
Worrel himself, and of how much she loved him, and of being married 
to him, and of the pretty bonnet she would have on her wedding day, with 
a sprig of orange flower resting on her glossy brown hair ; and of going 
away with him on a tour ; and her heart got a little fluttered, and she grew 
somewhat nervous, but she soon consoled herself in a sweet long walk 
with him, through some beautiful shady lanes and green meadows, and 
by the side of a babbling brook, with a trout springing at a fly, here 
and there; and she thought it would be very happy, indeed, to feel herself 
bound to him for ever, with the irrevocable words spoken, which placed 
her fate in his hands, her happiness in his keeping. Oh ! sweet and 
beautiful trust of woman, what a bright and fine thing thou art, when, 


in the heart's purity and the guileless simplicity of youth, thou takest 
all the treasures of existence, the rubies, and emeralds, and diamonds 
of warm and unpolluted affections, the pearls of the heart's tenderness, 
the gold of bright expectations and happy dreams, and castest them 
all, without a fear, into the lap of him thou lovest, and say est, in 
full confidence, " Keep them for thee and me." So was Laura 
Longmore prepared to do ; and as she lay there and contemplated that 
act, it rejoiced her heart, and she paused upon it, dreaming sweet 
dreams, with a bosom as pure and sunshiny, as calm and holy, as the 
bright summer morning, when every thing in nature raises the praiseful 
voice of joy to the throne of the Almighty benefactor. 

Upon the wings of such gentle thoughts came sleep, which had 
lasted about an hour when Jane, the housemaid, came in at the stated 
hour of nine o'clock. Alas ! reader, it is a terrible thing to be called 
in the morning. No man should ever order his servant to do it with- 
out a strong motive — or, at least, without considering well what he is 
about. How many a bright vision is broken through, far sweeter than 
any thing that waking life can give, by that hateful tap at the door ! 
How many an airy hope is blighted ; how many a dreamy fortune 
destroyed ; how much joy and satisfaction, prosperity, advancement, 
station, consideration, is swept away ; what bright qualities of mind, 
eloquence, genius, imagination, are frequently all lost and ruined by 
that sad tap at the door ! Whether it be to be hanged or to be mar- 
ried, to fight a duel or to eat our breakfast, depend upon it, reader, 
when one rises in the morning one leaves the brightest jewel of life 
under one's pillow, unless one supped the night before on pork and 
suet dumplings. 

Laura wished Jane had been a little later, for she was busy with 
such dreams as might well follow such thoughts as those which we have 
seen her entertain, and it was with some unwillingness that she arose 
and dressed herself, to go through the ordinary dulness of the day. 
Not long after, however, by the time that she was fully dressed, 
and had sat down to breakfast, the silence of the house was broken by 
sundry calls, shouts, and exclamations, and then the rapid pattering of 
manifold feet up the stairs, past her door, through the corridor, across 
to the picture gallery, and in every possible direction round her room. 
Laura could not conceive what was the matter, but in the end the sounds, 
after varying in their character for some time, diminished, died away, and 
all was placid. Not long after that again, Sally, the housemaid, re- 
appeared, took away the breakfast things, chatted a few minutes with 
the young lady, raised the family of Outrun in her estimation, by 
relating the viscount's proceeding in regard to the maids, and then 
disappeared, leaving Laura to enjoy an hour of solitary thought. At 
the end of that time something made the handle of the door rattle, 
and she started and looked round. Whoever was on the outside was 
evidently a personage not much accustomed to open that lock, for 
twice he touched it delicately, without succeeding, and then shook it 
violently, as giving way to a fit of impatience. 

The next moment, however, the key was turned, the door was 
opened, and a head was thrust in which made Laura start up from the 


table in terror and dismay. It was that of a man, of perhaps fifty 
years of age, with long and shaggy locks, which had evidently been 
neither cut nor combed for many a week, with a beard which, for 
fourteen or fifteen days, at least, had not known the touch of a razor, 
and a skin pale with dirt, and apparently with want of food. The 
hair and beard had once been jet black, but were now thickly strown 
with gray, and from underneath a pair of long and bushy eyebrows 
looked out two keen and glittering blue eyes, rolling rapidly around 
the chamber, as if in search of some one. Those eyes rested upon 
Laura but for a moment, and then ran on, looking into every corner, 
with a fierce and eager fire that made her blood run cold. But then, 
they turned to her again, scanning her face with a look of intense in- 
quiry, while the man's lips moved, as if he were murmuring something 
to himself, but no sounds were heard. The moment after, opening 
the door wider, he entered, and shut it behind him, laughing with a 
wild, strange, meaningless laugh, while his face continued grave, and 
even sad. 

Poor Laura was dreadfully terrified, as may be supposed, for such 
was not at all the sort of person with whom she could have coveted 
a tete-a-tete at that moment. She felt a strong inclination to scream 
come over her — a sort of inclination which with women is sometimes 
irresistible, as the reader perhaps knows : but in this instance Laura 
did resist ; and being, as we have shown, a very good little sensible 
girl, she was creeping rapidly towards the bell, which, unfortunately, 
lay on the other side of the bed, when her unwelcome visitor, appa- 
rently divining her intention, darted forward and interposed between 
her and the instrument of noise. 

" Ha, ha !" he cried, " I have caught her, if I haven't caught him, 
and now 1*11 have my revenge." 

" Revenge upon me!" cried Laura, clasping her hands together ; «I 
never did any thing to harm you, sir — ^you must mistake me for some 
one else." 

" No, no," cried the man ; " no, no ; perhaps you never did me any 
harm, but he did, and thafs enough." 

"No one belonging to me!" cried Laura; "I am sure my father 
does good to every body; I do not think he has an enemy in the 

« Your father — your father !" cried the man, with a laugh ; « It's 
your husband I talk of. — ^And why should not I make your father's 
heart as sore as he has made mine ? I crept in here to tear the villain 
to pieces, but I've got you and that will do nearly as well." 

"For heaven's sake— for pity's sake listen to me," cried Laura, 
keeping the table between her and her fearful guest. " You are mis- 
taken altogether. 1 have no husband ! I am Laura, the daughter of 
Mr. Longmore ; and they are keeping me here a prisoner against my 

^ " No husband !" cried the man. « Ha, ha, ha ! Then it is high 
time you should have one. I'll be your husband. I'm a gay widower. 
My wife has been dead this twelvemonth — Keep you here a prisoner, 
do they ? Poor thing, then it's time you should make your escape.— 


They kept me prisoner, too, but I was cunning — I was very cunning — 
and last Saturday, while they were all at church, I showed them how a 
man could get out of any place, when he's willing. Til show you, too, 
and we'll make our escape the same way. — Come along, come along, 
and you shall see. We'll tie the sheets together, as I did, and then 
out of the window ; and then we'll go and be married, and I'll make 
an honest woman of you, as he ought to do, the black villain. Oh, I 
wish I had his heart in my two hands, I'd tear it to pieces." 

As he spoke he dragged the sheets from the bed, and tied them 
together in a hard knot, fastened one end to the bed-post, and, 
approaching the window, threw it open. Laura, as may well be con- 
ceived, was frightened very much, but luckily was not frightened out 
of her senses, which is always the worst plan a person can pursue. 
When, therefore, she saw the very tremendous personage who had 
invaded her apartment begin to busy himself with the sheets, she per- 
ceived the possibility of escape, and instantly determined to avail her- 
self of it. As the reader knows, there were two doors to the room ; 
that by which the readiest means of exit presented itself, however, 
namely, the great door, leading to the principal staircase, was consi- 
derably nearer to her unpleasant visitor than to herself, so that he 
could stop her in an instant if she attempted flight in that direction. 
The other was much nearer to herself, and though she had locked 
it, yet she had left the key in, and watching her moment, when he was 
at the window, she crept quietly to the door, opened it, and darted 
along the corridor like lightning. 

In an instant she heard a loud oath and his foot pursuing. Terror 
seemed to give her wings, and on she flew to the small back staircase. 
Quicker and quicker came the steps behind her, however, and hoping 
she might be near some of the inhabited parts of the house, she 
screamed aloud for help, but without pausing in her flight for a 
moment. Down the steps she ran like lightning, and made straight for 
the door by which she had beheld Jerry Tripe enter on her first 
nocturnal expedition. Alas ! when she tried to open it she found it 
locked. The man was now rushing furiously down the stairs after her. 
There was a door to the right and left — Laura had to choose between 
them, and, as is always the case when people choose in a hurry, she 
took the wrong one. It opened readily to her hand, and, under the 
impulse of terror, she darted in ; but all she found was an empty room, 
without any outlet whatsoever. The door was instantly banged to be- 
hind her, and Laura heard a loud, wild, ringing laugh, that made the 
whole place echo, and then the key turned, making her more strictly a 
prisoner than ever. Wild with fear, she gazed up at the window as the 
only means of escape, but it, like all those at the back of the house, 
was strongly barred. Her next thought was, by what means she could 
stop the entrance of her pursuer ; but the door had neither bolt nor bar in 
the inside, and she was evidently quite at his mercy. That he was a 
madman she could not doubt: his look, his words, his whole manner showed 
it ; and when, after a few moments of agonizing suspense, she found 
that lie did not appear, hope rose up again, and she fancied that he 

262 THE commissioner; ok, 

might leave her there, and forget her. The next instant, however, 
showed her what a terrible situation she might be placed in, even if this 
hope were realized. She might be hours, days, weeks, before any body 
came to her deliverance. The room had evidently been long out of 
use ; the window looked out into a small stone court, the long grass in 
which evinced how rarely it was trod by human foot. She knew that 
that part of the house was but rarely visited, and, full of terrible 
apprehensions in regard to what might befall her, the poor girl leaned 
upon the window-sill and wept bitterly. 





Really we cannot help it — we feel it would be improper — in common 
coiu'tesy, dear reader, we must not — it cannot be thought of — however 
much we may be interested in Laura ; whatsoever may be our conside- 
ration for Joey Pike ; though we may wish to return to Mr. Longmore, 
or Alderman Rotundity, or Harry Worrel ; though we may be deeply 
affected by the sorrows of the viscount , or moved with respect and 
admiration by the virtues and high qualities of the Honourable Frede- 
rick Augustus, nevertheless we feel that we should be committing an act 
of the highest indecorum if we were to leave any longer our respected 
friend Mr. Longshanks just getting into his gig at the door of Rotun- 
dity Court. To him, then, we must now return, as he put on his dark- 
grey great-coat in the well-carpetted vestibule of the alderman's house, 
and wrapping a shawl-handkerchief round his chin and throat, left his 
nose, like the unfortunate figure-head of a ship, to brave the wind and 
weather as he dashed along. All this being done, Mr. Longshanks 
walked out with a footman lighting him, and putting a shilling into 
that officiars hand — a good old custom, the decay of which most 
serving men regret — he stepped into his gig and took the reins and 
whip. The horse was a sleek bay gelding, some sixteen hands in 
height, without one wrinkle in all his glossy skin. He was an old ser- 
vant, too, and horse and master knew each other well, with all their 
various whims and vagaries. As soon as he was seated round went 
the whip over Mr. Longshank's head, as if destined to fall with a most 
awful cut upon the shoulder of the bright bay ; but not a bit did it 
touch him, and on the contrary, whizzing innocuous over his right ear, 
it made a terrible crack in the air, which the horse understood very 


well as an intimation that it was time for him to move. Away he went, 
then, exactly at his own pace, perfectly aware of how much and how 
little he was to expect from his master; and in complete harmony 
together they dashed on towards the little village in which the worthy 
surgeon passed the eventide of life. When they came to the turning, 
however, which led down to Mr. Longshanks' own abode, there ap- 
peared some slight appearances of contention. It must be recollected 
and taken into consideration that it was Mr. Longshanks himself who 
had received a note summoning him from the dinner-table, and not the 
horse, so that the worthy gelding knew nothing about the matter ; and 
being a staid and sober beast, by no means fond of gadding about, he 
had rejoiced himself all the way that he came along with the idea of 
eating his supper quietly at home, putting on liis night-cap, and going 
to bed. We speak figuratively, dear reader, of course ; for although 
Mr. Longshanks certainly had his own peculiar whims and oddities, yet 
we do not in the least mean to insinuate that his horses wore night-caps, 
or slept between Holland sheets. He was very kind to his horses, it is 
true, but whether it would have been kind to put them on such a 
system, may be a question for the curious. However, at the turning of 
the lane the horse was preparing to dart down with somewhat of an 
accelerated pace to the mansion, and when he found the rein pulled 
the other way, he was a little disappointed it must be acknowledged. 
That disappointment he displayed by a sudden swerve of the flank, 
which nearly whirled the light vehicle into the ditch ; and Mr. Long- 
shanks, who was not a man to be trifled with, thereupon made him feel 
that the instrument which he held in his hand, called a whip, could bite 
as well as bark. 

And now, says the reader, and perhaps the publisher too, for pub- 
lishers sometimes have the extraordinary self-assurance to comment 
upon stories that they do not understand in the least, even before they 
have seen the end of them, for which the Chevalier de Lunatico ought 
on all occasions to send them a ticket for his own sphere — and now, 
says the reader, " what in the name of fortune has all this history of the 
horse to do with the tale you are telling, and I am reading ?" 

Really, dearly beloved, we do not think it necessary to inform you, but 
the result of the horse's start to the side of the road was this, that up 
sprang out of the ditch the figure of a good stout man, who seemed to 
conceive that the proceedings of Mr. Longshanks, his gig, liis horse, 
and his groom, were intended as a decided attack on himself. 

" Who the devil are you ?" cried Mr. Longshanks. 

But to this friendly inquiry the gentleman out of the ditch offered no 
reply, and, on the contrary, making use both of his hands and his feet, 
he broke his way through the adjoining hedge and ran across the fields 
as hard as he could go. 

" It's that scoundrel, Smalldram, sir," said the groom ; " he's for ever- 
lasting hanging about here." 

" Then tell William to take care of the silver spoons," said Mr. 
Longshanks ; and bringing the horse round, he drove up towards the 


moor and stopped at the door of Nelly Bain's cottage. There was a 
light in the window, and the worthy surgeon descending with a pre- 
cipitate step, muttered to himself, "Ay, I dare say she is ill enough, or 
she would never have sent that dirty scrawl to me. So I suppose she 
expects that I can come and cure her when she has gone and broken 
her heart like an idiot. She'll find herself very much mistaken though ; 
I'll not cure her, why the deuce should I ? Much better she should die. 
What's the use of her lingering on whining and pining, just like a 
person who wants to go and see their son in France, and yet dare not 
cross the water. I wonder whom the old fool has got to take care of 
her ? I must send up somebody from the house." 

Thus murmuring the good surgeon laid his hand upon the latch and 
tried to open the door, but it was locked, and he tapped for admission, 
gently at first, but the next moment with a good hard rap, and then 
a heavy blow. 

" Who's there ?" cried the voice of Nelly Bain. " You shan't come 
in till I know who it is!" 

" Heyday !" cried the surgeon ; " are you mad, Nelly Bain ? Are 
you drunk ? Are you stupid ? Are you beside yourself ? Did you 
not send for me, saying you wanted to see me directly ?" 

At the well-known sounds of the good surgeon's voice, the widow 
instantly opened the door, dropping a low courtesy as she did so, and 
saying, " Dear me, sir, I thought you would not come to-night, and I 
was afraid of keeping the door open." 

The surgeon walked in, laid his cocked-hat deliberately down upon 
the deal table, undid the shawl-handkerchief from his neck and chin, 
and then taking the candle out of Mrs. Bain's hand, held it close to her 
face, till he had examined every feature and lineament therein ; then 
setting it down again, he seated himself quietly in a chair, saying 
aloud, but in a meditative tone, " The woman's distraught ! She's 
non compos ! She's as mad as a march hare !" 

Nelly Bain had once been a very pretty woman, her skin was clear 
and fair, and her face could not be said to be wrinkled, though there 
was a sort of Morocco-leather shrivelling of the cuticle, which indicated 
that that tegument had once been more filled out than it now was, and 
that the better part of life had worn away in cares and sorrows. 
Through that thin, clear, pale, and somewhat withered skin, now rose 
up a faint, delicate blush at the good surgeon's hard conclusions. She 
would not for the world have said a word that could offend him ; she 
was unwilling to contradict him in any thing, or deny that he was right 
even in his rashest assertions, for he was her benefactor ; nevertheless 
it was painful to her to hear herself called mad, especially by one she 
loved and venerated. 

" No, sir," she said, " indeed I am not out of my mind : I never was 
better in my life." 

" Then what the devil did you send for me for ?" exclaimed Mr. 
Longshanks : " why did you rouse me from a comfortable dinner-party 
at Mr. Rotundity's, when you know you are quite well ?" 


" Bless my heart !" cried Widow Bain ; " then the boy made a great 
mistake. I only sent the note to your own house, sir, and never thought 
he would go on after you. Indeed, indeed, sir, I would not for the 
world have roused you from your comfortable dinner. I would rather 
have remained up and watched all night. I am sorry indeed, sir, you 
were disturbed at dinner." 

" D n the dinner," said Mr. Longshanks ; " you don't think I 

care a farthing about the dinner, do you ?" 

" Well, sir," rejoined the widow, " I do know, indeed, you care little 
enough about what you eat and drink ; but I'm very sorry that foolish 
boy took you away from pleasant company." 

" Pleasant company ! — pleasant company !" exclaimed the surgeon — 
" the greatest pack of fools and knaves I ever saw in my life. There 
was that old fool. Rotundity, and that still greater fool, Longmore, and 
that gormandizing barrel of fresh pork. Deputy Popeseye, with a whole 
heap of horse-racing, card-playing, land-tilling tricksters — half-swind- 
ler, half-bumpkin — such as we see adorning the bench, sitting in par- 
liament — making and dispensing the law, and very often breaking 
it too. Company, forsooth! Do you think I care for such com- 

" Well, sir," replied Nelly Bain, who had some inclination to weep, 
" all I mean to say is, I'm sorry to have disturbed you when you were 

" Comfortable I" cried Mr. Longshanks, whose indignation had not 
quite worked itself fine. " Drunk, I suppose you mean ! But I can 
tell you, Nelly Bain, I have not been drunk since I was nineteen years 
old ; when, in a mad frolic, as a surgeon's assistant, I frightened a 
poor girl into fits, from which she never recovered, and for which 
I never forgave myself, nor ever shall." And so saying he twisted his 
cocked-hat three times round upon the table, and looked into the 

" Well," he continued at length, after a deep sigh — " well, Nelly, if 
you are neither sick nor mad, why did you send for a surgeon ? What 
do you want with me ? You know if I can help you, you have nothing 
to do but to speak, my poor woman." 

" 1 know that quite well, sir," replied Nelly Bain, with a tear in 
either eye. " You are always ready to help any one that needs it. 
But it wasn't about myself I sent, sir, it's about a very funny thing that 
has happened here, and I thought you being a magistrate and a gen- 
tleman " 

" Stop, Nelly," said Mr. Longshanks ; " don't use the word gentleman 
lightly. It is a term that should be very rarely, very cautiously, and 
very respectfully applied to any one. Gold is the most precious of 
metals, Nelly, and diamonds the most precious of stones, but gold and 
diamonds are very plentiful things when compared to gentlemen. The 
first you find in many a fool's purse, the second you find hanging round 
the necks of flirts, and demireps, and half-harridans ; but let me tell 
you, you may go into nine hundred and ninety-nine out of all the 


saloons in Europe without finding such a thing as one true gentleman 
in them. A gentleman, Nelly, is not the man that wears fine clothes, 
either upon his body or his mind. I mean, not a man who dresses 
himself in silks and fine colours, smart coats and well-cut boots ; who 
has a fashionable air, and assorts his garments with all sorts of pro- 
priety : nor he, who on the principles of a Chesterfield, decks his mind 
with graceful thoughts, shapes his demeanour by the most approved 
rules, and studies all that may catch the outward senses of those with 
whom he mingles in this world. No, Nelly, no, this is not a gentleman ; 
no more than a piece of gilded brass which bears the king's head upon 
one side, and his arms upon the other, is a guinea. The gentleman, 
Nelly, is the man who in his heart possesses the consciousness of uni- 
versal benevolence and personal rectitude. The one giving to his 
whole manners and demeanour, grace, suavity, and gentleness ; ihe 
other communicating to his countenance and his limbs both dignity and 
ease. This, Nelly, this is a gentleman : so, Nelly, you must not call 
me a gentleman." 

"Well, sir, I won't," said Nelly, and Mr. Longshanks was not 
offended. " But, sir," she continued, almost as impatient as the reader 
to get on with her story, " I thought as you were a magistrate you had 
better know what was going on." 

" A great deal of wickedness, I dare say," said Mr. Longshanks, 
" that I had better know nothing about, Nelly." 

" Well, sir," said Nelly, " you can judge of that when I have told 
you. The very first night I was here — that's to say after I came back 
again — as I was sitting with old Mrs. Maroon, who offered to stay and 
keep me company that night, a man looked in at the window, and 
when I went to the door to see who it was, there was a stout thick-set 
fellow, with his hand lifted up to the thatch, as if he were pulling a 
handfull of straw out. He made off as fast as he could when he saw 
me ; and your honour coming in just then, said you had met Small- 
dram the tinman. Well, sir, two days ago Smalldram came up again 
and did just the same thing. I had gone out, down to the village, but 
was just coming back again and saw him take his hand away, and walk 
up over the common. I thought to myself when I saw him, that I 
would examine the place to which his hand was stretched out, but on 
giving a glance over it I found nothing. The thatch seemed all fast 
enough, and a good thatch it is, for my poor William did it himself. 
But to-night the man came again, just in the dusk, after I had shut the 
door, but before I had lighted the candle. Hearing a step I looked out 
through the window, and saw him clear enough, and I then perceived he had 
got his hand under the thatch, and that he took something out. I couldn't 
make out what it was, but he put either the part or the whole back again, 
and then away he went ; and when he had gone about half an hour, I 
went out and felt under the thatch, and between it and the wall there 
seems to be a whole heap of things, some of them, hard and some of 
them soft, but I could not take one of them out till I had sent for you, 
which I did as soon as possible. But you see, sir, I had nobody to 


send except the little boy, Thompson, who came up for the milk- 
can, and he went on, I fancy, when he couldn't find you at home." 

" We'll soon see, we'll soon see," cried the worthy surgeon. " Bring 
out the candle. Widow Bain ; shade it with your apron, good woman, 
for there is a wind stirring. Now, Williamson," he continued, opening 
the door and speaking to the groom, " fasten the horse somewhere, and 
come hither to be a witness. There, that will do, that will do, tie him 
to the post. Now come hither, Nelly Bain. Nelly Bain, where's the 

place. D n it, the woman's let the candle out. Woman, woman, 

thou art always like fortune in this world ; thou lightest us up to within 
a step of the point desired, and then blowest out the light. Well, 
don't stand there, go and get another ;" and Mr. Longshanks, in the 
abrupt impatience of his disposition, walked nine times from one side 
of the garden to the other before Nelly Bain could light the candle 

When at length she appeared, her patron, to her surprise, walked 
straight up to the spot where she had seen Smalldram the tinman with 
his hand under the thatch ; for Mr. Longshanks had been intended by 
nature for a great general, and while she was lighting the candle he 
had calculated with the utmost nicety, the exact position in which the 
worthy tinman and rabit-seller must have stood for the widow to see 
him out of her little cottage-window. Instantly thrusting his hand 
under the thatch he felt about for nearly a minute without finding any 
thing, but the next moment he drew forth a small shagreen case about 
six inches long, and two broad. 

" You see, Nelly Bain," he cried, holding it up to the light. " You 
see, Williamson !" 

" But there's more besides that, sir," said Nelly Bain. 

" Not that I can find, Nelly," replied Mr Longshanks, " feel your- 

In vain, however, did the widow grope under the thatch, nothing 
more could she discover ; and she ended by exclaiming, " He must 
have been up and taken them then, for I will swear that there was a 
bundle of papers like bank notes. I thought I heard a step half an 
hour ago." 

" Ay, and we saw the scoundrel at the turning of the lane," said Mr. 
Longshanks. " But come in and let us see what this is." 

Entering the cottage the worthy surgeon seated himself in a chair, 
Nelly Bain held the candle, and Williamson, the groom, looked over 
her shoulder. Mr. Longshanks lifted up the case before their eyes. 
It was old and worn, rounded at both ends, and somewhat corpulent 
about the waist. It bore an inscription upon one side, which probably 
would have caused ChampoUion or Young to pause and study the 
outside in the first instance, but Mr. Longshanks was resolved to see 
into the heart of the matter ; and taking one end in each hand, he 
pulled the case in two ; when, lo, in the inside appeared — a pair of 
spectacles ! 

Then, and not till then, he turned to examine the outside of the 

268 THE commissioner; or, 

case, when to the horror and admiration of all, appeared scratched 
in with the point of a knife, and blackened with soot or some other 
dusky pigment, the awful words, " Tobias Scapulary, 6th July, 17 — " 
" Ha !" said Mr. Longshanks ; " this is important indeed, Nelly Bain ; 
for although it is utterly impossible for the mind of man to enter into 
all the dark, obscure, and secret recesses of the human breast, and trace 
from the beginning in the small germs, in the seeds, Nelly Bain, of crimi- 
nal desires and petty failings, the future horrible crimes and iniquities, 
strifes, broils, robberies, adulteries, murders, that are consequent upon 
some early error in education, or original fault of disposition, yet 

certain it is but I'll explain all that to you another time. At 

this moment we must act and not talk, so good night to you, Nelly 







Joey Pike, when last we left him, was not in exactly the most 
agreeable situation in the world. As we have informed the reader, 
receiving a blow between the eyes, he fell flat upon his back, and 
exactly in the same position in which he had tumbled did he lie 
for the space of at least half-an-hour. Whether he felt it comfortable 
or uncoiufortable, whether he considered himself in a graceful attitude, 
or was without the power of putting himself in an attitude at all, 
matters very little to this book. There he lay, reader, that is a con- 
stantf and as such it is enough for you, I, or Mr. Babbage. When he 
did get up, however, his head turned round, his eyes saw all manner of 
colours, and he cried out, " Ah, vaery shocking, vaery shocking indeed ;" 
and then with a step of slow and wounded dignity, he walked towards 
the stile, which led past the house of Mrs. Scapulary into the village 
of Outrun. 

When he approached it the hour was not far from midnight, but it 
was bright and clear, the sky lustrous with many lights, and the 
memory of evening and the hope of morning shining from the west 
and east, and meeting in faint radiance overhead. But by that gentle 
twilight of a period of the year which owns no absolute darkness, the 
astounded eyes of Joey Pike beheld a huge male form seated upon the 
top of the wall. His active imagination instantly took hold of it, and 
moulded it into every frightful shape. The church-yard was near the 
foul pool in which Jerry Tripe had nearly perished, and in which a 
drunken and egregious poacher had actually sunk never to rise again, 
was close at hand ; so that Joey had every probability on his side when 
he conceived that it must be a ghost or a goblin ; ay, even perhaps a 
Hobgoblin, or, as it should properly be called, a hopgoh]in or empusOf 
which we take to be the most awful and horrible of all sorts of gob- 
lins. Conceive, dear reader, what a terrible and diabolical spirit it 
must be which, not content with inflicting its malicious torments on the 
human race in a calm and quiet manner upon two legs, shows its re- 
joicing in the dreadful task assigned to it, by skipping and hopping, as 
if in very mockery of the misery it causes. Can any thing be more 
fiendish than the very definition of the Latin lexicographers — " a spirit 
that hops upon one leg and changes itself into many shapes !" but be 
it remarked that in all its shapes it still hops upon one leg, as if the 

270 THE commissioner; or, 

other had been carried away in battle, for such is an absolute condition 
of the existence of an empusa or hopgoblin, as the root itself shows — 
*ev vovs ! It cannot do otherwise — it is its very nature to hop, as 
Wallis and Junius clearly show ; and although Hobbes, with a natural 
predilection for the first half of his own name, would have us believe 
that the word ought to be hobgoblin, because hob is the short for robin ; 
and others contend that the hobgoblin is merely one of the lares, or 
household gods that sit down at the hob with us, yet it seems to me 
clearly established by Coelius Rodiginus, that the empusa was a distinct 
sort of hopping demon of Protean powers and malicious character, so 
that Joey Pike had the best authority in the world for being excessively 
frightened at the spectre which he beheld, as soon as ever he convinced 
himself that it was a hopgoblin. 

Nevertheless, as we have shown upon more than one occasion, Joey 
Pike was a true hero. He was one of those men who, seeing danger 
before him and knowing its extent, calmly calculate the object to be 
obtained by confronting it, and if it be worthy, hesitate not to un- 
dertake the enterprise. Nay more, there was something in the very 
presence of danger itself which elevated and excited his whole mind — 
his busy imagination was all in a flame with glory ; where glory was to 
be obtained where would Joey Pike not have gone? One of I^ever's 
Irishmen, one of James's men in armour, the Duke of Wellington in 
his military capacity, Theseus, Hercules, Apollo himself, when in his 
prime he shot the great sea serpent, was nothing to Joey Pike when 
animated with the desire of high renown. On the present occasion, 
however, his object was only to go to bed. No fame could he acquire 
by encountering a hobgoblin on the top of a stile ; there were no eyes 
to look upon him but those of the stars, who never report for the 
newspapers. If he fell he was likely to fall unknown, if he triumphed 
his achievement must be unrecorded. While he yet hesitated the voice 
of the apparition was heard exclaiming in a discontented tone, " I say. 
Bill, this is devilish dull work ! I should think she won't come to- 
night ;" and thereupon up started another goblin from the grass, and 
replied, " I should think not." 

These awful words decided Joey Pike, who happening to be under one 
of the trees, saw without being seen, and gliding back with many a deli- 
cate and skilful bend, and with attitudes which only wanted a Phidias 
or a Praxiteles to be transferred to stone or ivory, and enchant a hun- 
dred ages, the renowned Joey retreated from the scene of ghostly con- 
ference, and made up his mind to a bed under a chesnut tree. How 
he slept and what dreams he dreamt we must leave to the vivid imagi- 
nation of the reader. Suffice it, that he put a full mile between him- 
self and the goblins before he lay down to rest, and that he woke 
early on the following morning. Finding that the wind during the 
night had made somewhat free with his drapery, and exposed his deli- 
cate ancle, he blushed and simpered in the character of Miss Brochet, 
and then betook himself to a path which led across the park towards 
another stile on the opposite side. He reached that stile in safety, 
mounted the first and second stone, and had his foot upon the top of 


\jy ^'AJ7{u:/i€y^ .?4. 

'/j-C€>-7-;//-€> Z^{y.'yza 


the wall, but alas near him there was one of those little dells, such as 
the yellow-haired laddie, famous in song, used to frequent, and where, 
as we are told, "the hawthorn trees grow;" and just as he had reached 
the aim of his desires, which at that moment was the top of the wall, 
a loud voice shouted out from beneath the green branches, " Hallo, 
Harry, hallo, there she goes. Split my wig, there she goes !" 

Notwithstanding the adjuration of the elegant speaker, Joey did not 
stop to dissever his suppositious hair, but descending rapidly on the 
other side of the wall, ran along the road as if three mad bulls were 
behind him. With a step like light he darted on, comparing himself as 
he went to Camilla and all the goddesses and nymphs who were ravished 
or not ravished by those rude gentlemen in days of yore, and seeing the 
gate open he darted in, well knowing that the distance of only two 
meadows lay between him and a wild common. Behind him, however, 
came the sound of running feet, and though Joey banged the gate in 
the face of his pursuers, they first pattered upon the hard road, and 
then sounded upon the soft turf. On sped Joey towards the opposite 
gate, distancing his followers by his agility, and taking pleasure as a 
stag is said to do, in his flight from the chace. He reached the gate in 
safety, pulled back the sneck, but in vain, it was padlocked by a foul 
piece of semicircular iron. There was no avoiding it, Joey laid his 
left hand on the top rail and vaulted. Unhappily the gate post caught 
his muslin drapery, in the most lamentable position in the world. But 
happily the force and velocity of his leap was such that cotton threads 
and linen tape gave way, the dress rent, the horse-hair bustle was torn 
off, and shorn of his fair proportions, Joey trod with additional light- 
ness the velvet mead beyond. 

" The devil's in the girl," cried one of the viscount's gamekeepers, 
taking a long run and clearing the gate likewise, but Joey paused not 
to listen or reply. On, on he flew ; while his two pursuers, with some 
fifty yards between the pairs, panted upon his footsteps. The second 
gate was open, a third gave him exit upon the common ; but alas, how 
often does it happen, that from some slight miscalculation, the thing 
we seek most ardently proves our bane. The common was open, it is 
true, but it was covered with furze bushes. Joey, in his breeches, 
might have won the day, but in petticoats the odds were against him. 
Each bramble, each thorn, each tuft of gorse, snatched at his drapery, 
impeded his progress, and often made him stumble. The first of his 
pursuers was coming rapidly up, when, lo, an ass appeared, and 
snatching up a stick which lay near, Joey sprang on the donkey's back. 
"Europa rode a bull, he said, why not Miss Brochet on a jackass?" But 
the sturdy quadruped refused to move. One, two, three blows sounded 
ike a boy's drum-stick on a broken drum. The first gamekeeper was 
close behind, he was stretching forth his hand to seize the fugitive, 
when a fourth blow descended thundering on the flank ; up went the 
donkey's heels, three of the pursuer's grinders flew into the air, and on 
went Miss Brochet with her steed, braying and kicking, and sticking out 
his tail, as if in mockery of the discomfited gamekeeper. While the 
latter stood coughing and spitting, and holding his jaw, his companion 


came up, said a few words of comfort, and resumed the chase ; but 
Miss Brochet, mounted on her Bucephalus, now set pursuit at defiance. 
Seated on the croup of the donkey, waving her stick over her head, 
snapping her fingers in the air, and exclaiming, " Ah, you catch me 
when you shall can ;" she dashed across the common, sticking out her 
left foot with ineffable grace, and urging on her quadruped with dexte- 
rous blows upon every tender part, in a manner that might have 
excited the admiring envy of any donkey-driver of Brighton or of 
Ems, that purgatory of asses. Soon her last pursuer was forced to 
abandon the chace, and while he remained panting and blowing, and 
holding his heaving sides, she cantered on for at least three miles 
across the extensive moors, which we have more than once before 

Finding herself at length in safety, the young lady permitted her 
steed to relax its speed, and then dismounting with a graceful spring, 
she followed the ordinary course of mankind towards all that serve 
them, by giving the friend who had aided her at such a terrible pinch, 
a severe whack with the stick, and sending him back from whence he 

What to do next, oecame Joey Pike's immediate consideration, and 
feeling a sort of misgiving as to the neighbourhood of Outrun Castle, 
though it was by this time well nigh four miles off, he again took to his 
legs, and sometimes running with a graceful trip, sometimes walking 
with a stately step, proceeded two miles farther, taking the liberty of 
gathering some early fruit out of a garden as he went, to supply the 
cravings of a very importunate guest who had taken possession of his 
stomach. He next betook himself to a sandpit, and under a shady 
bank passed several comfortable hours, partly in a quiet dose, partly 
in meditative dreams, in the course of which he compared himself to 
every heroine who had been a wanderer and an outcast, from the time 
of Eve down to his own day. So thoroughly had he convinced him- 
self that he was not only outraged and persecuted, but absolutely a 
woman, that he had well nigh given way to a fit of hysterics, for the 
sole piu-pose of proving his sex. 

At length about three o'clock or thereabouts, he took a path which 
led both towards the dwelling of Widow Bain and Mr. Longshanks, 
and determined to require hospitality at one or the other of those hos- 
pitable gates, he was hesitating which of the two he should seek, when 
his whole plans and purposes were changed by the sudden apparition 
of a man in drab breeches and gaiters. To have seen him, one who 
knew not the secret workings of his mind, would have supposed that 
Joey Pike had suddenly lost his senses, for down he fell flat on his 
belly, behind the bushes, making it seem as if the earth had swallowed 
him ; and then, as he lay, without ever raising himself so as to be seen, 
he writhed and wriggled about from bush to bush, and tree to tree, 
and gap to gap, now dropping down a bank, as if it had given way 
beneath his feet, now gliding behind the boll of an oak, now skulking 
into a hollow dell, but still advancing and peering out every minute 
with an eagerness, a zeal, and indefatigible activity, which was won- 





derful and admirable. It would delight the reader to hear all the ma- 
noeuvres that he went through during the next four hours, but it is 
impossible for the tongue or pen of man to describe all the feats that 
he performed in the gymnastic art ; ay, and it would be impossible, 
too, for any imagination to conceive the attitudes he fell into, or the 
devices which he put in practice. That he was watching something was 
very evident ; and it was not till the sky became dusk again that, joy- 
fully clapping his hands, he exclaimed, " I have it now !" and off he 
ran with all his speed to the house of Mr. Longshanks. 

Rueful and dark was Joey's countenance when he heard that the worthy 
surgeon had gone forth to dinner at Rotundity Court ; but he was one 
whom no difficulties discouraged, no obstacles could appal, and off he set 
as hard as he could go in that direction. " I will triumph over Fate,'* 
cried Joey, while he walked for six miles as if he had a bet with the god- 
dess. In the road under the park-pailing of Rotundity Court, however, 
he suddenly paused, and with proper foresight, looked on before him. 
He saw two men, even in that dark and dismal hour, hanging about 
the gate ; there was a certain air and look about them, though he 
could see not a feature of their faces, which Joey loved not. It was a 
thieftaker-ish air, a Bow-street-officer-ish look, and Joey Pike stopped 
short. Back again he crept, with his face still to the foe, to make sure 
he was not observed, like the representative of a wild Indian at a 
minor theatre ; and then when he reached the far end of the enclosure 
he vaulted over the palling and lighted within the grounds. When he 
was there, however, new difficulties beset him ; the shrubberies were 
deep and intricate, the paths tortuous and studiously meandering ; he had 
well nigh plunged into a piece of water, he ran his head against a 
summer-house, he tumbled over an ancient ruin of a fortnight old. 
At length, however, he issued forth upon a fair open lawn, and 
instantly perceived the house before him, with all the windows open, 
and lights and music and merry laughter streaming out upon the air. 
With ecstatic joy and relief of mind, Joey tossed back his head, threw 
forward his chest, extended his two hands like an opera singer about 
to begin a duet, and then bounded up with the step of a Cerito. 

Alas, for the hapless human race, what accidents do man environ I As 
he descended on one foot his toe seemed to touch a spring-board, a loud 
and sudden click was heard, a terrible blow broke his shin and pinched 
his calf, and graceful Joey Pike found himself caught in an instrument 
absurdl}' called " a humane mantrap." Loud and pitifully did he howl, 
out rushed a number of persons from the house, and to his surprise, 
joy, and consolation, the two first faces he beheld were those of 
Harry Worrel and the Chevalier de Lunatico. Now having restored 
him to the bosom of his friends, we shall leave Joey Pike to their ten- 
d( r attentions, and proceed to gather the rest of our tiock together. 

c. — NO. IX. 





Did you ever, reader, when you were a child, get into an empty room, 
before you had learnt the art and mystery of turning a lock, bang the 
door to, and fancy you should never get out again ? Of all the 
horrors that can ever rush into the human mind, the imaginations that then 
rise up in the breast of infancy are by far the most terrible. With 
fancy at its height, and a whole world untried, yawning like a vast 
cavern before it, the agony of terrible uncertainty at that moment is 
worse than all the positive pains and dangers that befall us in after 
life. Rarely — very rarely, do we ever in mature years meet with an 
hour so fearful as that. 

Laura, however, in the close prison to which she was" now con- 
fined — shut in by a madman, who was likely to forget her the next 
moment — at a distance from the inhabited part of the house — with- 
out a single soul knowing what had become of her, and every 
probability against their seeking her in that direction — endured to 
the full all the terrors of childhood, and gave herself up to utter 
despair. Whenever fancy brought a sound to her ear, (for none in 
reality reached her the whole day,) she raised her voice, and cried 
aloud for lielp; but no one came ; and she saw the darkening of the day 
with her bright eyes dim with tears. Seating herself in a corner of 
the room, she gave way to the torrent, and wept violently, while night 
crept on, and all was darkness. She had continued thus, with her face 
buried in her hands, for nearly an hour, when she suddenly heard a 
sound, and started up. Before she could cry out the key turned in the 
lock, and the door opened. Although it flashed upon her mind imme- 
diately that it was but the madman who had returned, yet, such are 
the gradations of suffering, that the presence of him, from whom she 
had fled in terror, came now as a blessed relief. 

" Oh ! " she exclaimed, " I thouglit you had forgotten me !" And 
the accents of joy in which she spoke seemed to touch the unhappy 
man's heart : for it does seldom happen that the earthquake which 
overthrows the temple of reason, lays the whole structure in such 
utter ruin but that some passages, however tortuous and narrow, 
still remain, by which human feeling can penetrate even to the inner- 
most shrine. 

" Forgotten you !" he said ; " and are you glad I have come ? Ha, 
ha ! that is strange ; for now all the children fly from and hoot me ; 
the very urchins whose heads I used to pat, look terrified if they see 
me. I, who used never to come home without a look of joy and 


satisfaction from the eyes that I loved best :" and down he sat upon 
the floor, and placing his back against the door, fell into a sort of 
stupor of meditation, with his hands clasped on his knees, and his head 
drooping till his forehead almost rested on them. 

For a short time Laura waited patiently to see the result, fearful of ex- 
citing him to rage. She could see him distinctly as he sat, for the dark- 
ness had come so gradually upon her eyes that the faint remaining light 
of the summer night sufficed to give her a general view of every thing 
around. At length, however, she spoke to, and tried to soothe him. 
She besought him to let her go : with that divining spirit, which exists 
more or less in the bosom of almost all women, she felt that his enmity 
had been somehow excited by the very people who kept her there, and 
she expressed her detestation of them, her eagerness to escape, her 
anxiety to return to her father, in language which she thought the 
most calculated to touch and affect her strange companion. But tjie 
ear of the mind seemed stopped. Not a word did he utter in reply ; 
not a movement took place in his limbs ; so still, so motionless he sat, 
one might have thought it was some melancholy statue, and not a 
living thing. More than once she made the same attempt in vain. At 
length, however, a few minutes after the castle clock had struck ten, 
Laura, convincing herself that he had lallen asleep, determined to 
make an effort to pass him quietly, and escape by the door. Advancing 
with a noiseless step, she had come within a single yard of the place 
where he sat, M'hen, starting up with a wild laugh, he caught her by 
the wrist, exclaiming : — 

" Poor mouse I so you thought to get out of the trap ! But you 
and I will escape together. You want to run away from them, do 
you ? Well, you shall run far enough ; for I will not leave you till 
you have gone five hundred miles ; far, far over the sea, where he can 
never see you again, and then he'll marry her you know, and all will 
be right. Come along, come along ;" and dragging her out through 
the door, by the wrist, he led her through another, which opened out 
into a sort of paved alley, which ran from the back of the castle to the 
stable-yard. With a degree of cunning and caution far beyond what 
might be expected even from a person in their senses, he paused and 
looked round at every step, listened for every sound, and at the same 
time kept whisi)ering to Laura : — " Not a word ! — not a word ! — not 
a word I" 

She, on her part, listened and looked around with equal anxiety, 
hopeful of finding some means of deliverance, but it was all in vain 
that she did so. Distant sounds, indeed, she heard, coming apparently 
from the servants' hall, but they were too far off to give her any assu- 
rance of obtaining assistance, even if she raised her own voice to cry 
for help ; and gradually her wild companion drew her away from the 
house, and into the park. 

" Ha, ha, ha !" he cried, when they were actually under the first 
clump of trees : " now we are free! — now we are free ! Go on before 
me ; we will walk a hundred miles to-night. But if you attemi)t to 
run away, woe be to you !'* 


Thus, on they went till, half-way across the park, Laura suddenly 
perceived a female figure, under the trees. An exclamation of joy burst 
from her lips ; but the madman cried, in a furious tone : — 

" If you try to run a step, or say a word, I will knock you to pieces 
in an instant !" and almost at the same moment, levelling a blow at the 
person she had seen, and who had taken a step or two towards them, 
he struck whoever it was to the earth, exclaiming : — 

" I have killed her ! That is another of his women, and I will kill 
them all except you — except you ; and you I'll marry myself !" 

Poor Laura, however, could bear no more, and as he spoke, 
exhausted with himger, fatigue, agitation and terror, she sunk fainting 
down upon the path before him. 

How long she remained in this state she could not tell, but she was 
at length aroused, as if by a sudden shake, and on languidly opening 
liQr eyes she found herself borne along, in the madman's arms, under 
the park -wall of Outrun Castle, from the top of which, to say the truth 
he had just leaped, having found the stile guarded, and the gate shut. 

" Oh, let me go! — let me go 1" cried Laura. "I will walk — indeed 
I will." 

" You can't walk, poor lamb !" he replied in a gentle tone. " Besides, 
the butchers are after you. I can carry you — I can carry you. I have 
grown so strong I could carry the world. I pulled the iron bar out of 
the window of the prison as if it had been a sapling twig !" 

" I can walk, indeed," said Laura ; " and I will walk, too, if you 
will let me." And after some persuasion she induced him to set her 
down, and suffer her to walk along by his side, though he held her 
tight by the wrist as they went. 

His pace was painfully irregular to his fair companion ; sometimes 
slow and thoughtful, sometimes so rapid that she could scarcely keep 
up with him ; and thus they had passed the end of the park wall about 
half-a-mile when the day began to dawn. To Laura those faint grey 
streaks were a most joyful sight ; but they seemed to fill the madman 
with terror. 

" There is day !" he cried, " there is day ! We must hide ourselves, 
or they will catch us j and then they will hang me, and marry you to 
him. That will be very terrible, you know. Here — here's a place 
where we can hide, and nobody will find us." 

In that part of the country, as you know very well, dear reader, it 
is a common custom to cut out a sort of lime-kiln in any chalky bank, 
excavating the furnace in the mass of chalk, with an aperture at the 
top, and the entrance door, supported by brickwork, at the side of the 
road. The place to which the madman pointed was a large kiln of 
this kind, apparently long disused, but there was one extraordinary 
fact about it, which was, that the iron doorway had been left hanging 
on its rusty hinges, even in England, a country where every body 
thinks he has a right to take the property of his neighbour, provided 
he can do so undetected. Into this strange and miserable abode the 
madman forced Laura to enter, notwithstanding her entreaties and 
rejr onstrances ; and, following her in himself, he drew the door to after 


them. When this was accomplished, his mind seemed relieved from a 
part of the terrors which daylight had apparently brought with it, and 
sitting down he laughed gaily, saying : — 

" Here, we can be comfortable." 

As the daylight increased, he gazed eagerly and often in his fair 
companion's face ; and, whether it was one of the strange variations 
of madness, or that the sight of her beauty soothed and calmed him, 
he fell into a gentler mood than he had hitherto displayed, and after 
one of these fits of gazing bent down his head and wept profusely. 
Laura thought that it was a happy moment, and she strove to persuade 
him to let her go. 

" You seem a kind-hearted man," she said : " Oh, do let me return 
to my father. Think what a terrible thing it must be for him not to 
know what has become of me, and to be anxious every moment of his 
life about me." 

" Ay, I know — I know," cried the man, in a sad and solemn tone. 
" Do you tell me what it is to be anxious every moment about a 
daughter? Don't you know who I am? Don't you know the whole 
story ?" 

" No, indeed," replied Laura, alarmed at the knitting of his brows, 
and the tone in which he spoke ; " no, indeed I do not know. What 
has happened to you ?" 

" I will tell you — I will tell you," he answered. " I was a very 
happy man once, a very happy man, indeed. I had just enough to 
live upon, and a wife that I loved better than any thing on earth, 
except my daughter, and a daughter that I loved better than any thing 
in earth or in heaven. — Never you love your daughter too much, it's a 
sin and a folly. — I loved nothing but those two, they were all the world 
to me, and when I lost them there was nothing left for me to love at all." 

" Oh, dear," said Laura, " 1 am very sorry for you." 

" Are you ?" said the man. " That's kind of you — that's very kind. 
You are the only person that's been very sorry for me for a hundred 

He paused for a minute or two, as if in thought, and Laura 
asked : — 

" Did they both die, then ?" 

" No, no," cried the man ; " I wish they had — I wish they had, and 
I too ; that would have been pleasant. No, they didn't both die ; my 
wife, she died, but she was a long while ill ; she that was so pretty, 
she withered away, day by day, but she was pretty and dear to the 
last. Poor thing ! God took her, and I was ungrateful. I thought I 
should have gone mad when she died, but then I had my daughter, and 
all the love that had been her mother's came to her — it was her right, 
you know ; it was the only thing her mother had to leave her — a poor 
inheritance, God wot — but yet a father's love is something. Ay, but 
then came the worst time of all. I saw the girl was unhappy, and I 
thought it was for her mother, and I tried to comfort her ; and I 
would look so cheerful you cannot think, when my very heart was 
breaking. — Ay, that's what it is that makes men go mad, looking 
hjsppy and speaking gaily when they have got the grave in their heart. 


But it doesn't matter — it's all the same thing. Did you ever read the 
Bible ?" 

« To be sure I have," replied Laura. 

"Well, then," continued her companion, "do you remember the 
story of the rich man and the poor one, and how the rich one took 
the poor one's ewe lamb, that lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a 
daughter ; and what David said when he heard it ? — Ha, ha ! this foul 
monster comforts himself in his wickedness, and thinks himself safe, 
because he lives in a fine castle, and because the father, whose child 
he wronged, seems too pitiful in his eyes to reach him ; but I say with 
David, * As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall 
surely die.' — Ay, I will tear his heart in pieces, as I tore the fowl. — 
But what makes you turn so white ? I will not hurt you. You abhor 
him, too, don't you ?" 

" Oh, that I do," replied Laura, earnestly. Although she did not 
comprehend the whole of the man's story, yet the facts came glim- 
mering through the obscurity of his wild speech, and showed her that 
wrongs as well as sorrows had driven him mad. " Oh, that I do," she 
replied ; " but it was not fear that made me turn pale, but I am faint 
from fatigue, and with hunger, too, for I have not tasted any thing 
since ten o'clock yesterday morning." 

The man put his two hands to his head, exclaiming : — 

" Not tasted any thing I How's that — how's that ? You're a good 
girl, and you're sorry for me, and abhor him as I hate him. Oh, I'll 
get you a nice breakfast ; you shall have sweet water-cresses from the 
brook. I know where it runs. You shall have tliem directly. — No- 
body can call that stealing. I'll go and fetch them — I'll go and fetch 
them," and away he darted. No thought had he to shut or fasten the 
door of the kiln. Indeed he could not have made it secure, for it was 
without either lock or bolt, and the moment he was gone, Laura started 
up with a trembling step and approached it. Her heart beat wildly, 
the prospect of liberty was before her, and yet she had scarcely 
strength to make use of the opportunity. She paused a moment, 
hesitating and calculating how far the madman would have to go. She 
had seen no brook as they had passed along, so that she could 
not even divine the distance ; but, at all events, she determined 
to make the attempt. By this time there must be people near, 
she thought, who would hear her cries, and aid her — husbandmen 
labouring in the fields, or going to their work, and after waiting for 
about two minutes, she bent down and crept through the narrow door. 
The next moment she stood in the open road, and gazed to the right 
and left. No human being was to be seen, and climbing up a little 
path, which seemed to have been made in former days by the frequent 
steps of the lime-burners, she reached the top of tl)e bank and once 
more looked around. Not a soul was near, but she heard some one 
whistling lightly in the distance, and, looking in that direction, she 
saw the spire of a little church. It was a blessed sight to her at that 
moment, and darting across the corner of a fallow field that lay before 
her, she reached a path which wound away in the direction of th© 






Jones the curate, Mr. Alderman Rotundity, Mr. Deputy Popeseye, 
three or four young squires, and one or two country justices, aided the 
Chevalier de Luuatico and Harry Worrel in seeing what was the mat- 
ter ; while the whole party of ladies, alarmed by the noise and the 
sudden exit of the gentlemen, remained within, ready to scream or faint 
as the case might be ; and Miss Rotundity, who was really not coura- 
geous notwithstanding her scientific pursuits, looked with tender con- 
fidence at the legs of the mastodon, as a place of retreat in case of 

"Ah, mon Dieu!" cried Mademoiselle Brochet; "how happy I 
was to see everybody. Meester Worrell, I vairy glad you come ; do 
aidez me out of dis trap. I have got one vairy imcoamfortable situa- 
tion. Ah, chevalier ! mon cher chevalier ! I be excessively pinch.'* 

" Why, goodness me !" cried Mr. Rotimdity, " this is the young 
lady who brought me news of your pretty daughter, Longmore. But 
how came you here, ma'amselle ? But let me set you free ;" and put- 
ting his foot upon the spring of the trap, Mr. Rotundity exclaimed — 
" Remove fera monstra!'' and Joey Pike skipped out of the trap de- 

" Yees," cried Miss Brochet, "yees, my cher Rotundity, I come tell 
you of pretty Miss Laura — I promise to come again to-night. But 
you see I have been persecuted — I have run, torn my gown, scratch 
my beautiful leg, and undertaken all manner of distress." 

" Why, bless me!" cried young Jones the curate, holding a light 
close to Miss Brochet's face, " you seem, ma'am, to have got a marvel- 
lous stiff" beard for a young lady. Methinks you have forgot to shave 
yourself this morning." 

"Ah! pretty woman vil sometimes have de light, delicate mous- 
tache," replied Miss Brochet, blushing deeply. 

" Yes; but here's beard as well as moustache," replied the curate, 
looking through his spectacles. " Why, alderman, this is a man dressed 
up in woman's clothes ! If his hair were not flaxen his chin would be 
like a blacking-brush." 

The Chevalier de Lunatico now perceived that further concealment, 
at least as far as sex, was all in vain ; and, with the usual decision and 
promptitude which he displayed, he stepped forward, saying — 

** Hush, my good sir, to use a term that you understand, being con- 
nected with your profession, there is more upon the cards than you 

280 THE commissiois:er ; oe, 

know of. You had better go home to your wife, and prepare for the 
journey you have got to take. My dear alderman," he continued, while 
young Jones slmik away, " this lady, as your clerical friend has ob- 
served, is a gentleman : it is my servant, in short, whom I sent down 
here for the express purpose of making discoveries in regard to fair 
Laura Longmore and other matters." 

" Ay," cried rash Joey Pike, " and discoveries enough I have made. 
I vrill relate them all organo ; but the first disclosure shall be of myself," 
and off he pulled cap, bonnet, and wig, exposing to the eyes of admiring 
spectators the graceful head of Joey Pike issuing out of a delicate 
French collar and pelerine. 

Rash Joey ! rash Joey I to what perils do'st thou expose thyself ! 
Hadst thou remained enveloped in fal£>e curls, and lace, and silk, though 
all might detect thee by thy beard for a man, no one would have disco- 
vered what a man thou art. There was no aecessity for it either, Joey ; 
for the chevalier's cautious, but well-timed, acknowledgment of thee 
saved thee from all responsibility. It was an act of needless candour, 
of unnecessary generosity, towards thine opponents. Thou must be a 
Tory, Joey Pike ; thou must be a Tory. I wonder thou are not in 
the cabinet ! 

The moment hat and wig were gone, a young squireling exclaimed — 

" Why, hang it — upon my honour it's Joey Pike, the waiter at the 
Half Moon!" 

" He's soon going to be waiter at the whole one," said the Chevalier 
de Lunatico. " But I think we had better bring him into the house, 
and hear something of the wonderful discoveries he has made ; and, 
besides, he seems exhausted, torn, and in a very lamentable condition. 
I know my friend the alderman has too much kindness of heart to 
refuse him rest and refreshment under such circumstances." 

" Assuredly, assuredly," cried Alderman Rotundity. " ' Hoe 
maximb officii estj ut quisque maxime opis indigeat, ita ei potissimum 

" But," said one of those gentlemen called justices of peace, whose 
name, by the way, is a sad misnomer, as their operations, nine times out 
of ten, in their beginning, their course, and their result, have nothing to 
do with peace in the world — " but, Mr. Alderman Rotundity, I fear this 
here is a bad business ; for that there fellow, Joey Pike, has a warrant out 
against him for the murder of old Scapulary ; and the magistrate's pocket- 
book says, that, in a case of felony, every one becomes a constable, 
and ought to take the villain up." 

" I deny that," said young Jones the curate, who by this time had 
crept back again to the party, and could not resist the spirit of hoax 
that was in him — " I deny tiiat, Mr. Puddenstream ; for how can a 
magistrate become a constable, which is an inferior office ? No, my 
dear sir, you remain always a justice of peace, and have no right to 
take any cognizance whatsoever of the greatest felon in all the world, 
even if he had cut your own throat the moment before, unless he be 
brought before you on information on oath. That's the law, I take it, 
alderman. Blackstone does indeed say that in certain cases, such as 


the present, every man becomes a constable; but that means every 
common man, of course : and very inconvenient it sometimes is ; for 
where there are only two people present, a felon and another man, as 
the felon becomes a constable too, they have mutually to take up each 
other ; and if the felon happens to be the strongest, he, of course, 
carries the day. It's the law of the land, I can assure you, chevalier." 

" I dare say it is," replied the chevalier, " for it sounds very like 
nonsense ; and I have remarked a tendency that way in some of your 
laws before.*' 

Mr. Jones held his tongue ; for he found it less pleasant to hoax the 
chevalier than any other person he had met for a long while, and the 
clear, grey, sarcastic twinkle of the great diplomatist's eye gave warn- 
ing that he was always ready to return shot for shot. 

" Well, gentlemen," continued the chevalier, " as it is now night, 
and the moon is not yet up, we cannot see clearly into the matter here, 
and therefore had better, perhaps, go in. We shall soon hear my 
friend Joey's account of liimself, and then we can deal with the matter 
as may be thought fit." 

" As to that matter," said a voice close by, " I shall deal with un 
first," and at the same time a great, broad hand grasped Miss Brochet's 
arm. " We have got a warrant against thee, my dear ; so you mun 
come along with we." 

" Stay, stay," said the chevalier. 

" Stay, stay," said Harry Worrell. 

" No I woan't," said the constable. " What should I stay for, mas- 

" Because you are bound to take him before the nearest magistrate," 
replied Harry Worrel, " and there are three here present." 

" Is that the law ?" asked the learned constable with a broad stare. 
" I thought I had to take un to gaol." 

" Oh, it's the law, it's the law," cried Mr. Jones, who was anxious to 
hear all that Joey Pike had to say; and having removed into the dining- 
room of Rotundity Court, the magistrates and their friends took up 
their position on one side of the table, while Joey and the constable 
appeared on the other. 

" Give him a chair," said Mr. Longmore. " By standing too long 
upright the muscular fibre becomes contracted, the atoms are pressed 
one upon the other, a derangement of the relative positions take place, 
the poles become inverted, or, at all events, dislocated, and those 
changes are produced in the animal economy which ultimately lead to 
the unnatural and unnecessary consequences of sickness and death." 

" Give him a slice of venison and a glass of wine," said Mr. Deputy 
Popeseye. " Keep a good heart, young man, and fill your belly when- 
ever you can. That's the way both to have a long life and a merry 
one. My good friend the chevalier here would not stand by you, I'm 
sure, if you had committed a murder ; so we'll see you taken care of, 
and you shan't want for meat and drink in the prison if I have any say 
in the matter." 

" It's all nonsense together," said Harry Worrel, " there's nobody in 


the whoxe county, from the coroner down to the cow-keeper, who sus- 
pects Joey of any thing like murder ; and here the chevalier and I can 
prove that he was in quite a different place at the time that this act was 

" That has nothing whatever to do with it, I tell ye," cried Justice 
Puddenstream. " That there man was murdered, that's clear enough ; 
this here man's accused of it, that's clear enough; and so he must go 
to prison." 

" Pray how long must he stay ?" said the chevalier. 

" Why, I can't tell that," replied Justice Puddenstream ; " maybe six 
weeks or more. I forget when the 'sizes are." 

"And pray how will he amuse himself?" said tne chevalier. 

" Why, he may walk about the yard with the other felons," said the 
justice, " and he may write his name upon the wall, and all that." 

" And if he is found innocent," said the chevalier, " the country, of 
course, makes him a large compensation for long imprisonment and six 
weeks' condemnation to the society of felons." 

" Pooh — nonsense !" cried Mr. Puddenstream ; " he may think him- 
self devilish well off he isn't tucked up ; and the judge will tell him 
when he quits the court that he must look upon himself as fortunate in 
the issue of the trial, and that the warning he has received ought to 
have a great effect on his future life and conversation." 

" So that, in short, he will go out of court an innocent man, having 
suffered the punishment you inflict upon various serious offences, 
though he had done nothing to merit it, having had his morals conta- 
minated by association with criminals, and his reputation blasted by 
the insinuations of his judge ?" 

" Something like it, I am afraid," said Mr. Alderman Rotundity. 
" Judges will make awkward speeches, that they had better let alone, 
as well as other men. ' Nemo omnibus horis sapitJ " 

" But what's all that to us ? what's all that to us ?" cried Mr. Pud- 
denstream. " We've nothing to do with all that. All that we've got to 
do is, to commit a man when he's brought before us for a felony, to 
punish poachers, and fine fellows five shillings for being drunk. 
That's a magistrate's business, and plenty of it there is too." 

" May I ask," said the chevalier in an insinuating tone, " who it is 
that appoints the magistrates in this county ?" 

" The Lord Lieutenant to be sure," replied the justice. "Who should 
appoint them but the Lord Lieutenant ? He asked me particularly 
to take that onerous and responsible ofl^ice, as he called it, upon 

" He was sure you would do honour to the bench," said the cheva- 
lier; " and so much do I respect him, that I will beg you to present 
him with this little note of invitation the first time you see him. If the 
people in my country displayed as much care and discrimination in 
selecting their magistrates there, we should not be so riotous a crew 
as we are I dare say." 

" T hanky, sir; thanky," said the justice, pocketting the billet; "and 
now we had better commit this fellow." 


" Not till you*ve heard him I suppose, and the charge too," said the 

" No, no ; let us hear him, let us hear him," cried some of the other 
magistrates. " What do you charge him with, constable ?" 

" Why, as to charging un," replied the constable, " that's no business 
of mine you know. He's been charged enoff already I fancy. I wash 
my hands o' that. I was sent to teak un where I could find un, not to 
charge him. Ye must manage that amongst ye ; that's not my job.'* 

This new difficulty might have turned to Joey's advantage, but Joey 
Pike, like Joey Hume, was smitten with an irresistible desire of dis- 
tinguishing himself in oratory, and, like that distinguished impediment 
to all legislation, his oratory often got him into a scrape. By this time 
he was refreshed with meat and wine, and, rising with dignity, he flou- 
rished his left hand, and laid his right upon his heart." 

" I am charged," he said, " with murder. I own it." 

" Oh," said Mr. Puddenstream, " he is charged with murder, and he 
ciwns it. That's quite enough I think. He pleads guilty — he stands 

" No, no, he does not," cries another magistrate ; " he pleads no 
such thing. What he owned was, that he stood charged with murder." 

" Do you call me a fool, sir ?" said Mr. Puddenstream. 

" I did not call you one, whatever I might think," replied the other 
magistrate ; and how far this petty quarrel might have gone, nobody 
can tell ; but Mr. Alderman Rotundity interposed, exclaiming — " Gen- 
tlemen, gentlemen, let us hear what the prisoner has to say." 

" Oh, I will hear any thing," cried Puddenstream, " but I won't be 
called a fool." 

" Well, now, Joey, speak," said the alderman. " You have stated 
the charge against yourself. Have you any thing to say against it ?'* 

" Simply this, most learned alderman," replied Joey Pike — " that it 
is false, because it is impossible. First, it is morally impossible, be- 
cause it is not in my nature to commit murder ; secondly, it is physi- 
cally impossible, because no man can be in two places at once. Then, 
again, it is false, because I did not do it ; and, thirdly, it is false, be- 
cause another did. Each of these assertions I can prove, illustrissimi 
signori, if you will only permit me to do so. In the first place, I have 
said it is not true, because it is impossible. Now, there are two 
honourable gentlemen here present, whose veracity is not to be 
doubted who can show that I was with them at the very time this mur- 
der must have been committed." 

" I say, Joey," interposed the constable, "wawn't you seen a-com- 
ing out of the house just afore the murder wur found out ?" 

** No," replied Joey boldly, " for, I first found it out. It was a 
great discovery of my own — not so wonderful as some of Mr. Long- 
more's discoveries, but still no less true." 

This was a very happy hit which made another friend upon the bench. 
Mr. Longmore bowed his head benignly, and Joey proceeded to tell 

the tale of his adventures on that morning, beginning with the words 

** I had been fighting a duel !" 


" Ha, ha, ha I he had been fighting a duel," cried Mr. Deputy 
Popeseye. " What a fool he must be if it's true ! what a liar he must 
be if it's not 1 An awkward beast, a dilemma, Joey, with those two 
horns of its. Been fighting a duel ! ha, ha !" 

Worrel explained, and corroborated Joey's statement, which was 
also confirmed by the chevalier ; but, nevertheless, as so frequently 
happens, Mr. Popeseye's laugh had greatly damaged Joey Pike's cause ; 
and the magistrates having made up their minds to send him off to 
prison immediately, only listened to him farther in order to find matter 
for the confirmation of their own opinion. 

" Well," said Mr. Puddenstream, " this is all very fine, gentlemen ; 
but for my part I think an honest man always acts like an honest man ; 
and I must say that to go about the country masquerading in petticoats 
in this manner is not like an honest man." 

" Nor an honest woman, either," said Sir Deputy Popeseye : " ha, ha, ha !" 
"Pray, what did you do that for, sir ?" said Puddenstream. 
Joey Pike was agitated and overcome : he felt slightly hysterical ; 
he could bear any thing but a laugh : the idea of being laughed at was 
to him worse than the thumb-screw or the rack. With a surprising 
effort, however, of mind and resolution, he swallowed the egg that was 
rising in his throat, and waving his hand, exclaimed — 

" I see my case is prejudged. What did I come here for in petti- 
coats, do you ask me ? Pour chercher la verite — and I have found 
it ! Yes — I have discovered the murderer : he who caused the morto 
of poor Toby Scapulary has developed himself to my ojos. I can 
prove it upon him — I can demonstrate that he is coupahle^ and not 
your umilissimo servo. Nay more, not only murder have I discovered, 
but rhapsody. To me you owe — to me alone — the knowledge of where 

fair Laura Longmore is confined " 

" Ay, that's true enough," said Mr. Alderman Rotundity ; " and I 
will take care that you shall have the credit of it, Joey. You shall 
not have to say — '■sic vos non vohisy ^c' " 

" I can tell you who are they whose brutal malice and pervers corn- 
plots carried her off from her burning father's house," continued Joey 

" Who, who ?" demanded Harry Worrel, starting up with his fist 
clenched, as if he would have knocked^down the phantom that Joey's 
words called up. 

" Sit down, Harry, sit down," cried Mr. Longmore ; " I will knock 
them down myself. Wlio, Joey — who ?" 

" The race of Outrun," screamed Joey, in a high soprano — " the 
race of Outrun — sono i traditori." 

Every man looked in his neighbour's face with horror and astonish- 

" Ah !" continued Joey Pike, shaking and mouthing like Mr. Ma- 
cready in Richelieu — " all ! sad is my fate, and terrible my lot, to have 
to accuse my own kindred— to cast a stain upon my race— to blacken 
my own blood— that I, that I of all men should have to accuse the race 
of Outrun." 



" The man's mad," said Mr. Longmore. " VVlial the deuce have 
you to do with the race of Outrun, Joey ?" 

" Ay, there's the third great discovery," continued Joey, drawing 
forth a pocket handkerchief with a small edging of lace, and wijing 
Ills eyes, for he had moved himself to tears ; " ay, there's the third 
discovery — I myself am a child of the race of Outrun. Was my 
mother ever known, oh, egregious Longmore? Did you ever hear 
my father's name, oh, potent Puddenstream ? Is it in the register of 
your parish, grave and reverend Jones ? No, no ; Fitzurse is tlie 
name I ought to bear ; and I can prove it too by proofs irrefragable. 
Was I not bred up in the house in early youth ? Was not the daughter 
of that house long absent from her home ? Did not she die in a dark, 
mysterious manner in the state chamber of Outrun Castle ? Can any 
one behold her picture and my face and yet refrain to cry — there is the 
mother, there is the son ? Besides, have I not a letter — ay, an inter- 
cei)ted letter from Jeremiah Tripe — him of the ruby nose — to Widow 
Scapulary, seeking the certificate of my mother's marriage :" 

Joey spoke all this with an emotion and an emphasis that it is im- 
possible to describe. He had studied his attitudes from the picture 
of Brutus condemning his sons ; and he had nearly thrown his shoulder 
out of joint in the effort to stretch out his arm like a French Roman. 
It must be acknowledged, too, that the effect he produced was 

" This must be inquired into,** said Mr. Longmore. " I recollect a 
good deal of strange matter about that time, and rumours that didn't 
do to talk about ; but it must be inquired into." 

" Let inquiry be made," replied Joey Pike ; " it is all that I desire : 
I, for my own part, can prove all my assertions. I am willing at any 
moment to set my face by the side of that fair countenance and say, 
with the famed Prince of Denmark, ' Look here upon this picture, and 
on that."* 

" Yes," said Mr. Jones with a sly smile, " and the reply might be 
from the same author — * Hyperion to a Satyr.* '* 

" Then I have the letter,*' continued Joey Pike. 

" Pray let me look at it," said the Chevalier de Lunatico. 

" There, most respected knight," replied Joey, " I know you to be a 
proo chevalier, and I can trust to your discretion. Take, read, and 
mark it ; you will see tliat he speaks of the marriage certificate — * The 
marriage certificate,' " continued Joey reading from the letter, " ' which 
your husband, defunk, always kepp in his grey breeches pocket. Poor 
man I wonder what always made him wear grey breeches :' and so do 
I," proceeded Joey ; " but a fact's a fact — grey breeches he did wear, 
and in those breeches was deposited, besides the nether man of Sca- 
pulaire " 

" Joey, Joey," cried the chevalier, " you are getting into verse. 
But here is the undoubted fact," he continued as he took the letter and 
looked through the contents — " here is the undoubted fact of a marriage 
certificate being inquired after which this old man apparently used to 
carry always in his breeches pocket. But what is the link of connec- 
tion between this letter and yourself, Joe\ ?" 


" Why he certainly was brought up at Outrun Castle," said Mr. 
Longmore, " and there were strange reports about that time." 

" I was," said Joey, waving his hand gracefully and assuming the 
pathetic — " I was reputed to be what the people in London called 
a fondling, though heaven knows few are they who fondle them — an 
enfang troavy ; or as the Spaniards, most poetically, call it a Hijo 
de lapiedra, a son of the stone, for stony must be that father's heart 
who could thus expose a child. Such, however, I was reputed to be : 
some said even, and confidently affirmed, that I was related to old 
Scapulary himself; but still I was brought up in Outrun Castle, and 
did odd jobs for all men, till about twelve years ago, when applying 
for some information regarding my fate and history, and delicately 
liinting to the noble lord that I thought myself a greater man than 
cruel circumstances suffered to appear, his lordship reached his hand 
to a stag's horn in the great hall, and drawing down a horsewhip 
flanked me out of the chief door. Most indignantly I stalked away, 
resolved never to be beholden to that hand again, even for a penny roll, 
till I could claim it as a right. Little did I hope when I returned to 
Outrun Castle for the purpose of setting free Laura Longmore — little 
did I hope, I say, that I should find the proofs of those rights which 1 
do now possess." 

" But did you set her free ?" exclaimed Mr. Longmore, more inte- 
rested in the fate of his own progeny than in the ancestors of Joey 
Pike. " Did you set her free, Joey ?" 

" Alas, no I" answered Joey Pike, and the face of Harry Worrel — 
as when a schoolboy promised to be taken to fair or show, to sport or 
game with but the one condition, that the weather shall be fine, looks 
up with anxious eyes unto the cloudy sky, while the dull vapours drift 
along it thick, and sparrows chirp portentous, and he beholds a sudden 
rent in the gloomy canopy above, and forth pours the sun, brighten- 
ing for a moment all the scene around, but instantly after the clouds close 
again, and all is darker than before, while the slow drops of rain begin 
to patter down — so was the countenance of Harry Worrel, illuminated 
for a moment by the bright rays of hope, but overshadowed again 
instantly by the reply of Joey, " Alas, no !" said Joey Pike, " I was 
frustrated. But to speak again of my proofs " 

" Well, well — but we have nothing to do with that," cried Brutus 
Puddenstream, who stuck to his point like a rusty weathercock, or an 
old Roman. " What we have to do is, to commit him. That's our 
business, I take it. You see, gentlemen, that there man is accused of 
the murder of old Scapulary ; a warrant is out for his apprehension, 
and " 

" And we must remand him for further examination," said Mr. 
Longmore. " Here is but one suspicious circumstance that I can hear 
alleged against him ; here is the testimony of two honourable gentle- 
men to set against that circumstance ; here is the uniformly good cha- 
racter which the young man has borne, and to which the one half of 
the people here present can testify." 

" Ay, he always was a good cretur," cried the constable. " We 
thought un a little light in the head, but no harm in un." 


Joey Pike would rather have been committed a thousand times than 
have undergone sucli a speech ; but Mr. Longmore went on — " and I, 
as one of the magistrates here present, will not consent to a good and 
respectable young man being sent to the common prison, where he has 
no means of carrying on his observations, making his calculations, or 
any of those processes in which the human mind delights, till we have 
stronger proof against him than we have at present." 

" No, no," cried several of the other gentlemen present ; " remand 
him, remand him." 

Mr. Puddenstream found that he was in the minority ; but none of the 
family of the Puddenstreams ever yield with a good grace ; and be it 
said, that very often, in this world, they carry their point against the con- 
viction and conscience of other people, simply by a dogged adherence to 
a wrong opinion. In this instance he made a strong fight of it : and one 
would have thought that Joey Pike had murdered him himself, so 
eager was he to commit him. Even when the question was carried 
against him, and the prisoner was remanded, he declared that he cast 
the responsibility from his own shoulders, and held the other magis- 
trates answerable for any consequences that might ensue. Joey, how- 
ever, was not committed in spite of all he could say ; and Mr. Rotun- 
dity, ordering out his own phaeton, sent him off in custody of the 
constable, with a recommendation to have him treated well and ten- 

" And now," continued the worthy alderman, " let us rejoin the 
ladies ; for we left them in most admired disorder, and doubtless they 
are in a dreadful state of anxiety to know all that has taken place." 

" Oh dear, no," said Mr. Jones : " I looked in a minute ago, and 
they were quite comfortable, I can assure you. My fair friend. Miss 
Serpentaria, was descanting on the aitch bone of a Mastodon, and all 
the rest of the party were asleep, except the lady who took three 
glasses of cura9oa after her coffee, and she was counting up the ace 
of spades. She made foiu* of it ; but what game she fancied herself 
playing at, I don't know." 

*' Why, where are you going to ride to to-night, my dear young 
friend ?" said Mr. Alderman Rotundity, to whom Harry Worrel had 
been speaking in a low voice. "I'll lend you a horse with a great deal 
of pleasure ; but " 

" It's not to be done, Harry," said Mr. Longmore. " I know what 
he's going to be about. He's going to set off for Outrun Castle, and 
there will be more blood spilt. Have I not promised you my daughter, 
Harry ? and that's enough. Leave me to find her." 

" There's been very little blood spilt as yet, my dear sir, replied 
Harry Worrel: "for that young rascal, Fitzurse, is alive and well, 
and " 

Here the chevalier stepped in not feeling particularly sure how Mr. 
Longmore's resolutions in favour of his friend might be affected by the 
news of Mr. Fitzurse's resuscitation. He therefore finished Harry 
W^orrel's sentence, thus : " and Lord Outrun and his son, feeling very 
sure you would never consent to her marriage with the latter, when 
you discovered what a blackguard and a swindler he is, carried off 

288 THE commissioner; or, 

your daughter for the purpose of compelling her to wed him against 
your will and her own too." 

" I'll prosecute them," cried Mr. Longmore — " FlI prosecute them 
for abduction. I'll call my new, wonderful discovery for blowing up a 
whole fleet with a pistol shot — I'll call it " Frederick Fitzurse" instead 
of " Longmore's infernal machine," as I intended to term it ; and I'll 
"burn down Outrun Castle with my patent magnifying, multiplying glass, 
which is exactly the same instrument wherewith Archimedes burned 
the fleet in the port of Syracuse." 

" Well, at all events, wait till to-morrow morning," said the che- 
valier ; " perhaps we may hear something of Laura by that time. I 
rather suspect, indeed, that we shall ; but if not " 

" Why, then, let us all proceed against Outrun Castle in a body,'* 
cried Mr. Alderman Rotundity, who was in a state of some excitement, 
— " if we do not hear of the young lady by eight o'clock to-morrow, 
let us all march in battle array, summon the castle to surrender, and 
take it by storm." 

" Agreed, agreed, agreed !'* cried all parties present — " agreed, 
agreed, agreed !" 





It was eight o'clock at night — generally a very jovial hour in Outrun 
Castle — and once more the viscount and Tom Hamilton were seated at 
dinner. The noble lord of the mansion, during the course of the day, 
as the reader well knows, had had his trials, to speak in the language 
of a widow who has buried three husbands ; and he had been unusually 
desponding and low-spirited towards evening. Whether it was the 
effect of his encounter with the maids — a cook's revenge — the escape 
of Laura — or the ineffectual pursuit — or all, or any two or three 
together of these great movers to melancholy, of course we cannot tell ; 
but the fact is so, that the right honourable peer, to use a very homely, 
but expressive country phrase, looked as sad as a wet hen. There was 
something cheering, however, in the sound of the dinner bell. He 
looked up from his toilet-table and smiled; the pimples of his face 
acquired a brighter hue, for they had been rather blue ; and parody- 
ing the beautiful lines of our sweet Irish bard, he murmured to 
himself — 

" That evening bell, that evening bell. 
How many a tale its tinklings tell 
Of soup and fish, and that sweet kour. 
When it invites men to devour. 

*• What dinners I have ate before, 
What dishes I shall eat no more ; 
And where they are gone to, who can tell, 
Who hears that tinkling dinner bell. 

** Tongue, turkey, salmi, mayennoise, 
■ Veal casserole, and a la braise. 

Though sweet the past, will do as well 

To honour thee, sweet dinner bell." 

The reader will at once perceive that the viscount was by nature of 
a poetical temperament. He was, indeed, a flower which had been 
doomed to blush unseen, and waste its sweetness on the desert air ; 
but who can doubt that if the cultivating hand had been bestowed, his 
genius would have produced many as sweet and graceful a composition, 
many as strong and vigorous an effusion, as flows from the ruby point 
of Moore's bird-of-paradise feather — from the less soft, but no less 

C. — NO. X. U 


enchanting quills of Reade, Harvey, and Alfred Tennyson — or even 
those dulcet strains that distil amongst the blood and garbage that 
occupy the rest of his poetical and anatomical mind, from the steel pen 
of Mr. Coroner Wakley ? We may be permitted to lament that his 
genius had not been fostered in this particular line, but nevertheless, he 
felt within himself that glow of satisfaction on the present occasion, 
which every poet feels, when he has committed a piece of verse ; and 
although he had been rather depressed by the events of the morning, 
yet, as a poetical friend assured us one day, when he had just lost his 
wife, and written her epitaph, " his little muse consoled him." 

Thus, with an easy and a jaunty step, as easy and as jaunty as his 
corporation would suffer it to be, he descended to the drawing-room, 
where Tom Hamilton was already waiting and hungry; and they 
proceeded together into the chamber appropriated for the great pursuit 
of human life. Some fine trout were on the table, of Tom's catching ; 
the soup was carrot, and inimitable ; some of the especial Madeira 
accompanied the two ; and the peer and his companion lingered in fond 
dalliance over these sweet pabula for the space of half an hour. As 
Jerry Tripe with one hand removed the soup, and turned it over to the 
footman behind, however, a rush of wheels was heard, and one of those 
vehicles classically denominated " a yellow," which, like the tomb, seems 
destined at one time or another to receive all the living, rushed past 
the windows of the dining-room, and stopped opposite the great 

" Why, who the devil's that, Tom ?" exclaimed the viscount. 

" It must be Fitzurse," replied Tom Hamilton, sipping his Madeira. 
" Give me a patty, if you please, Mr. Tripe." 

" Nonsense," cried the peer ; " Freddy does not come to his funeral 
till to-morrow." 

But even as he spoke, a servant threw open the door, announcing 
Mr. Jonas Fitzurse ; and in walked a personage in a mourning suit, 
with immense whiskers, and a quantity of hair of a very peculiar tint 
of black. Now every one knows that ladies, when they charge a 
gentleman to buy them some black silk — do not let the reader think that 
the writer is descending from the high and sublime style so befitting a 
work of this gravity, and approaching the limits of the dark kingdom 
of bathos, by entering into such details, for the matter is one of great 
importance — but when ladies do so, we say, they tell you that you must 
bring them either a blue black or a black black. Now the hair and 
whiskers of Mr. Jonas Fitzurse were neither the one nor the other. It 
was a purple black, and well it might be ; for to keep the reader no 
longer in suspense, it was produced by Tyrian dye. So great was the 
change, however, which had been wrought in the Honourable Henry 
Frederick Augustus Fitzurse, by a well-cut suit of respectable 
mourning, a white cravat, and dyed hair, that for a moment the father 
did not know his son, and began to be in a great fright lest he should 
really have some relations he had never heard of. A slight depression 
of Tom Hamilton's right eye-lid, however, and an elevation of the 
arched and speaking eyebrow, gave the peer the hint ; and forgettinp- 

' ^ "'ut^y-'' y7^d€^ ly/yt-'z/^'J. 


that one or two servants were in the room, who were ignorant of their 
young master's resuscitation, he started up, exclaiming — 

" Why, Freddy, my boy, you may well call yourself Jonas, for you 
must have been three days in a whale's belly, and got black in the 
process of digestion. But it's no good, the girl's gone — bolted, by 
jingo. However, we have set traps enough for her in the park. I 
don't think she's out of it yet ; and if she isn't, we must catch her ; so 

sit down and take some dinner Bring some soup and some fish — : — 

Why, Freddy, you look like a gentleman !" 

**I take it I do," drawled the Honourable Henry Frederick Augustus; 
" but I knew you wanted a change, so I did make myself look like a 
gentleman, though none but blackguards do that now. But I've 
brought two men with me in the shay to Avalk at the funeral. I found 
them in the coffee-room of the ' Horse Shoe,' at Offington, talking 
literary — one's a poet, the other's a proser — so I asked them to my 
funeral, and promised them a bed and a bottle of claret." 

" Bring them in, bring them in," cried the viscount, whose fault, it 
must be acknowledged, was not want of hospitality ; " bring them in, 
Jerry ; put chairs, knives and forks and glasses ; we'll have a set-to 
upon literary matters. I've known a great many men of letters in my 
day — once drank a cup of tea with Johnson, the only time I ever 
drank such stuff in my life Bring them in, Jerry, I say.'* 

" Come, come," cried his dutiful son, " don't you forget I'm your 
nephew, Jonas, old gentleman ; your son Freddy's dead, remember. I 
know it to my cost, for I was kicked out of the lord mayor's ball for 
being alive again." 

" Ha, ha, ha !" cried the peer ; " Freddy redivivus ! That will never 
do — I had forgot though, by jingo — but it will do quite well. Jonas, my 
dear boy, you're my heir-at-law, so it doesn't matter. Are these 

your two friends ? Very happy to see you, gentlemen — very happy 

to see any friends of my nephew, Judas — Ha, ha, ha ! Pray be seated. 
A very bad business, gentlemen — a very bad business, indeed ; the loss 
of a son a terrible affair — but I always loved my nephew, Amos, quite 
as well ; so that's one comfort, and we'll have a merry night of it — Ha, 
ha, ha ! — won't we, Zacharias, my boy ? Always right to keep one's 

spirits up, isn't it ? Pray sit down, Mr. . I have not the 

honour of knowing your name." 

" Winterton," replied the gentleman to whom he addressed himself; 
and who, as the reader may conceive, was staring with unmixed 
astonishment in the face of the viscount. 

" And your friend r" continued Lord Outrun ; " by what blessed 
designation may he be known in the great moving mass of humanity ?" 

" My first name is Darius, sir," replied the other gentleman, who 
stood six feet one inch and a half, without his shoes, and was a little 
bald on the top of his head ; '' but if you \^'ill permit me, I will refrain, 
for a short period, from mentioning my cognomen, or second epithet." 

" Certainly, certainly," cried the peer ; " this Castle of Outrun, sir, 
is called ' Liberty-hall ;' and though we do not write up here, as our 
friend Wilkes, did, ' Fais ce que tu voudray it is only because the thing 


is understood. Now, gentlemen, proceed, proceed j our business at 
present is eating — after that comes drinking — then we will have 
literature if you please — and then, naturally, follows sleep. Ha, ha, 
ha ! — isn't it so, Freddy ? — Jeremiah I mean. My dear nephew, do 
instant justice to that vol-au-vent — take a glass of champagne, and 
show your friends how to make use of your imcle's house. Tom 
Hamilton, a glass of wine with you." 

The two guests seemed so utterly confounded, that for several 
minutes they continued to eat and drink in silence, leaving the strange 
house they were in to follow its own strange courses. Mr. Winterton, 
indeed, who was a small, thin, fox-like man, close shaved, but very dark 
about the mazard, did ample justice to the viands set before him ; 

while Mr. Darius seemed only gifted in the way of potation, 

and drank wine with each of his four companions, and then began 
again. In the meanwhile, Tom Hamilton seemed struck with an 
affection for Mr. Darius's countenance. He gazed at him, he stared 
at him — he stared at him, he gazed at him again ; till at length Mr. 
Darius began to raise his tall head still higher, to think it very 
extraordinary, to fume like a very elevated Mount Vesuvius, and to 
return Mr. Hamilton's examination, with what might have been a very 
strong inclination to knock him down. But just as such a tendency 
was growing upon him, and he was calculating the chances which Tom 
Hamilton's broad shoulders, long arms, and well-proportioned limbs 
afforded of paying any pugilistic debts with interest — the last-named 
gentleman suddenly started up, caught him by the hand, and, giving 
him an affectionate squeeze, exclaimed — 

" Ah, my dear fellow, I am delighted to see you ; really it is so long 
since we met, that I quite forgot you. We are both a good deal 
changed since then — but don't say a word about it — I understand it all 
quite well ; we'll talk about it by-and-by ;" and eking out his speech 
with nods, and winks, and signs, Tom Hamilton resumed his seat with 
a well-pleased smile of recognition on his countenance ; while Mr. 
Darius smiled likewise, but looked more bewildered than ever. 

We will not pause upon the dinner ; suffice it to say, the two literary 
friends of Mr. Fitzurse severally fed and drank like men who knew 
how to estimate good things. The viscount himself watched their 
proceedings with a curious eye — not with a grudging one, let it be re- 
marked — ^for there was a liberal spirit in the peer's bosom, which took 
a delight in seeing the acts of eating and drinking performed, and he 
was highly satisfied with the feats of his two guests. 

" A pleasant thing, dinner, sir, after a long journey," said the peer, 
addressing the great Darius. 

" A pleasant thing at any time," said Mr. Darius ; " when one can 
get it." 

" That's true, by jingo," said his lordship ; " and I composed, this 
very day, a little poem in praise of the dinner-bell." 

" Pray let us have it — pray let us have it," said Mr. Darius, who was 
evidently quite in the habit of submitting quietly to the infliction of an 
Amphitryon's verses ; " pray let us have it — pray let us have it, my 


lord ;" and the peer, after three hems, and a blush which was lost 
amongst the other roses of his countenance, repeated the little piece of 
poetry with which we have already favoured the reader. 

" Capital, capital !" cried Mr. Darius. But Mr. Winterton looked 
up from amidst the fragments of a chateau rtisscy and exclaimed — 

" Do you call that poetry ? 'Pon my life, in this age there must be 
some patent machine for making verses; for as children now perform, 
in the factories, the work that used formerly to require skilful men, so 
now every boarding-school chit, and every raw boy, throw off long 
pieces of versification, which are quite marketable commodities, and " 

" Which, to follow your metaphor, Winterton," cried Mr. Darius — 
" are measured by the yard, and not the foot." 

" True, true," said Mr. Winterton, in a solemn tone ; " but poetry is 
above their power." 

" Well now, give us a specimen of your poetry, Winterton," said 
Mr. Darius . 

" Pray do— pray do," cried Viscount Outrun ; " by jingo, that's a 
good idea. Let's have a stave of poetry, by all means." 

" Let heem have something to wet hees whistle," said the Honourable 
Henry Frederick Augustus ; '* you kaen't expect a man to spout pottery, 
after eating all that preserved geenger, without a wet of claret." 

" To be sure, to be sure," cried the peer. " Jerry — where's Jerry 

" He's verifying his dream, I should think," said Tom Hamilton, 
" he's so long in the cellar ;" but just at that moment, Jerry appeared ; 
and after having swallowed a large glass of fragrant Latour^ Mr. 
Winterton threw up his eyes to the ceiling, laid his right fist heavily 
upon the table, and began — 

** Mark all ye men who eye these gloomy pages, 
I sing of spell-bound corn and taxed sausages, 
Pork most unduly held from British mouth, 
And sugar duty-bound in the far south. 
Oh ye, whose hearts do yearn to kindred woes, 
Within whose breasts the fire of mercy glows; 
Ye manufacturers who owe your fortune. 
Your carriage and establishnient for sporting ** 

" That's a bad rhyme," said Darius. 

" Let heem go on," said the Honourable Frederick. 

" Bravo, bravo," said the peer ; " I hate those d d manufacturers, 

and the more ridiculous they are made the better." 

Mr. Winterton shot a glance of indignation at him, and proceeded — 

'* Your carriage and establishment for sporting ; 
Your turtle-soup, your plate, your haunch of renison, 
The poems that you read of Alfred Tennyson ; 
Each snug delight that in your town house lies. 
And secret cottage filled with soft black eyes ; 
You I appeal to, for those luckless elves, 
For you, who hourly labour, not themselves." 


" Rather obscure," said Tom Hamilton. 
« All the more sublime," said Mr. Darius. 

« True, true," said the peer ; " the Castalian font is a little milky 
now and then, even at its highest source." 

Mr. Winterton felt it to be a compliment, and went on — 

« I ask you not to give one pleasure up, 
To sweeten poverty's most bitter cup. 
Resign no carriage ! keep not one horse more ! 
Send not one pampered footman from your door I 
Let cab and chariot wait at your abode, 
And four swift horses roll you on the road 1 
Let turtle flow with champagne at the board. 
And the whole Indies grace your plate-chest hoard ; 
Soft Turkey meet your feet where'er you tread, 
And finest Irish deck your board and bed ! 
Of things permitted and forbidden swill, 
Horse, hound, and pretty maiden if you will ! 
I ask for none of these, all, all I claim, 
Is your loud voice man's misery to proclaim ; 
Rave in the senate, in the meeting shout. 
Preach loud sedition to the rabble rout, 
The angry passions of the hungry wield, 
'Gainst landlord, farmer, labourer in the field ; 
Point envy's darts at them, and make of them your shield." 

" Bravo, bravo, bravo," cried Mr. Darius ; " that Alexandrine is 
beautiful, sublime, highly poetical ! Go on, Winterton," 
Mr. Winterton did so — 

" Lo, mighty mill-owner, respected lord, 

, Yon wretch, in that dark cabin's walls abhorr'd, 

Tableless, stoolless, bedless, there he lies. 

Want in his heart and misery in his eyes ; 

His starving wife and babes around him press. 

He gives them all he has to give — a kiss — 

Poor food for wretchedness, but he's no more. 

Except the tear that drops upon the floor. 

To yield to those imploring eyes that seek 

Bread from his hands, with his own hunger weak. 

That man was once a joyous country youth — 

That wife he wed in innocence and truth — 

Those children sprung, he thought, to aid his toil. 

When for thy mill he left his native soil. 

Within that mill he laboured hour by hour, 

To swell thy wealth, thy luxury and power ; 

Spent his best years, and with his sweat of brow 

Made both what thou art, and what he is now. 

But trade gets bad — thou cans't not sell thy wares — 

Thy fortune's made, however, and who cares ? 

Shut up the fabric — fast close the mill door. 

Discharge the workmen — ^they are but the poor ! 

Cry down the corn-laws — give a hundred pound 

To the poor fund j and high your name shall sound 


For charity and goodness, although he 

Who made thee rich, still rots in penury. 

Turn indignation from thyself away 

To other men — let farmers, landlords pay. 

How horrible to tax the people's food. 

That they themselves may live ! These men of blood 

Deserve no mercy at your hands, though they 

Plod on in toilful mediocrity, 

Make no such mighty wealth as you have made — 

"Wring no such luxuries from the limbs of trade ; 

And only claim, in favour of their cause, 

Promised protection from their country's laws. 

What's that to you ? Your manufacturing vein 

Must at their cost cut out new roads to gain ; 

"Tis a wise course, the source of power and pelf, 

To sacrifice all others to yourself ; 

The way is open — specious words are rife. 

And a bad crop may give your cause new life. 

Outcry the means, tumult behind your hand. 

And starving crowds to second your demand. 

On you they all depend — your hand doles out 

The weekly pence that just keep death without ; 

Raise loud the cry then, on all sorts of stages — 

Write fiery tracts, and treasonable pages — 

Bring down the price of corn — and lower your men's wages !" 

" Whawe ah we — whawe ahwe — whawe ahwe !** went somebody or 
something, and turning roand towards the top of the table, they saw 
the viscount with his head resting upon his left hand, his face turned 
up towards the ceiling, his mouth open, and his nose emitting the 
dulcet sounds which we have attempted to convey to the reader's 
apprehension, by the above-written syllables. 

"It must have been strong," said Mr. Fitzurse, "to make him forget 
his claret. Hallo, my lord, hallo — youVe forgotten y«ur wine, and 
he's done hees poetry, so you may wake up now in safety." 

"Very good, capital, excellent!" cried the viscount, starting up; 

" by jingo, that last line was sublime Pass the claret, Tom 


Tom Hamilton was now seated by the side of Mr. Darius, talking 
with him very busily in an under tone. He did as he was bid, however, 
not without filling his own glass and that of his neighbour, and then 
resumed the conversation which had been interrupted. They both 
seemed deeply interested, and besides the words which passed between 
them, there was a multitude of gesticulations which showed how com- 
pletely they were occupied. Mr. Winterton, for his part, looked round 
the table with eyes full of fiery indignation. 

" Base and degenerate souls," he said, in a low but solemn voice, 
like the tapping of a hammer upon an empty barrel ; " not one spark 
of poetic fire or genius amongst them — not a soul alive to the high 
art — not a heart that beats for the sorrows of their fellow-creatures." 

" Ha, ha, ha !" cried the viscount, laughing heartily as he caught 
these words ; " very shocking, very horrible indeed. Terrible fellows 

296 THE commissioner; or, 

those two, see how they are talking ; no spirit, no feeling, no ear, no 
mind, no understanding ; by jingo, we'll punish them. Tom Hamilton, 
I fine you a bumper of claret, to be drunk standing, with your fingers 
on your nose as if you were taking physic, for chattering in such a 
manner while Mr. Winterton was spouting." 

" And your lordship snoring," said Tom Hamilton ; " but I bow to 
the court ;" and without any very great signs of unwillingness, Tom 
Hamilton underwent the penalty of his treason against the muse. 

Mr. Darius was fined the same manner ; and the viscount continued 
to make up for Jerry Tripe's delay in bringing the claret, by its rapid 
circulation, till the Honourable Frederick's eyes began to assume that 
peculiar fish-like expression which indicated generally that his brain 
was becoming well sopped. Tom Hamilton seized the moment as if 
he had been looking out for that stage in his friend's nightly proceed- 
ings, and rose from the table saying — 

" Come, my lord, had we not better go while we can. I think coffee 
and curagoa would be expedient." 

" With all my heart," replied the peer, rising and balancing himself 
upon one leg, with a certain degree of vacillation. 

All moved but Mr. Winterton, who was taking sweet revenge, and 
snoring as loud as the viscount. 





" No ! Nonsense ! It kaen't be !" cried Mr. Fitznrse, standing in the 
library, into which he had been seduced out of the drawing-room, and 
holding by the back of a chair to keep himself from oscillating. 
" Tom, you're hoaxing me ; it's all stuff." 

" Indeed it isn't, Fitzurse," replied Tom Hamilton, in a grave tone : 
" you've got yourself into a confounded scrape, and I don't see how 
you are to get out of it. Can you deny any of the facts, eh, Fitz- 



" Oh, demm it, I'll deny them all if that will do any good,'* said Mr. 
Fitzurse, whose ideas of morality were rather lax, as the reader 

*' But it won't do any good," said Tom Hamilton : "I think it will 
do harm instead of good, as the facts can be proved against you. In 
the first place, did you, or did you not, promise the girl to marry 
her ?" 

" Why yees, I did ; but you know, Tom, that means nothing. Why, 
my dear fellow, I've promised a dozen and more, and breaking any 
promise to one is but honesty to all the rest, ye see, Tom. Come, 
come, Tom Hamilton, thees is a good joke — you talking about promises 
of marriage, as if there was any thing in that. One would never get 
hold of a dairy maid, if one didn't promise all manner of things. I 
dare say you've promised them marriage fifty times." 

" Never I" said Tom Hamilton, in a decided tone. " But that's no- 
thing to do with the present question. In this instance, at least, you 
have put your promise down in writing." 

"Why, yees," drawled Mr. Fitziu'se, "I couldn't help that, you 
know, Tom. She would have it in writing, and as I was very much in 
love with her, I did put it down. But I'll wheedle her out of it some 
day : a little coaxing will soon do that." 

" There you are quite mistaken," replied Mr. Hamilton in a decided 
tone ; " for now she knows all about it, and of what value it is, she 
would never give it up : and besides " 

" But I say, Tom," rejoined Mr. Fitzurse, with a pleasant leer, " how 
come you to know so much of her concerns ? I suppose you want to 
take her off my hands, eh ? But that won't do, Tom ; I can't spare 
her just yet. She's a devilish nice girl, Tom Hamilton, I can tell you 


« I think so too," replied Tom Hamilton, « and therefore I think 
that after your promises, and all the devoted love she showed to you 
at the time of the duel, you ought to marry her. That's my opinion." 

« Pooh ! nonsense I" said Mr. Fitzurse, " we shall do very well with- 
out matrimony. But what I want to know, Tom, is, how you came to 
know so much about all her concerns ? Demme, I don't like it, Tom.* 

« That's very easily explained," replied Tom Hamilton. " When 
you went away up to town she fancied that you had abandoned her 
and we're going to marry Miss Longmore ; so in despair she threw 
herself into the water, and I picked her out, and of course asked her 
what made her do such a thing ; on which she told me the whole story. 
But you seem to me to be drunk, Fitzurse, so I had better talk to you 
about it to-morrow ; only I wanted to prevent any row between you 
and her cousin, whom you have been fool enough to bring down with 


« Pooh ! that's all nonsense, Tom," said the honourable gentleman, 
looking a little dismayed, notwithstanding his affectation of incredulity ; 
« that's a fudge, Tom, that's a fudge. You want to frighten me ; but 
I won't be frightened. I've fought one duel, so why shouldn't I fight 
another ?" 

" Oh, if that s all," replied Tom Hamilton, " the matter will soon be 
arranged ; only most likely he will horsewhip you first, and shoot you 
afterwards, for he is a devil of a hand, I know : you may see that by 
his coolness. And besides, you know, she'll have her action at law 
against you, and make you pay swinging damages into the bargain." 

" It's demmed awkward," said Mr. Fitzurse, falling into a vein of 
thoughtfulness ; but then recovering himself the moment after, he added, 
" but I won't believe a word of it. Why I know she had no relations ; 
she told me so herself: she had no relations, I say." 

" None but this cousin, who went to India," said Tom Hamilton ; 
" and whom she and every body else thought was dead. But if you 
doubt my word, ask him yourself. He'll soon tell you, and in a very 
different manner, I can assure you, from what I have done, as soon as 
ever he finds out that you are Lord Outrun's son, and not his nephew. 
He was just now saying to me what an unfortunate thing it was that 
you were dead, for he wanted to see you, to thank you for all the 
kindness you had shown his cousin. But you see that's not the worst 
of the affair," continued Tom Hamilton ; " the worst part of the whole 
is this business about Laura Longmore. You will certainly be tried 
for that ; and unless you can prove that you had no intention of 
forcing her to marry you, it will be as awkward a job as ever I heard 
of. So you had better think over your position, Fitzurse, and let me 
know your intentions. Here I am, always ready to help you if I can. 
If you've a mind to fight this fellow, the sooner it's done the better : I 
should say to-morrow morning if I were you, and bully the thing out at 
once. At all events, you get credit by it then." 

" Demm the credit !" replied Mr. Fitzurse ; " the only thing I got by 
the last was, to get kicked out of the lord mayor's ball as a dead man. 
But perhaps this fellow might take fright, if one were to talk high." 


« I think you made a bad game of that the last time," said Tom 
Hamilton. No, no ; that's not upon the cards, my good friend. When 
this fellow, Darius Markem, shot young Grey, of the sixteenth '* 

" No ! Did he shoot him ?" cried Mr. Fitzurse. 

« Through the liver," continued Tom Hamilton ; " it was simply 
because he mentioned the very word fear in his presence. He said no 
gentleman ought to mention such a thing before another : it was like 
talking an unknown language, and therefore must intend an insult, for ' 
no gentleman ought to be supposed to know what the word^ar means. 
He is very good-natured, however, and easily satisfied, though some- 
what hot and peppery at first. When he called out Grantham for 
striking his dog, he offered to look over the affair, even upon the 
ground, if Grantham would go down upon his knees, pull off" his hat, 
and ask the dog's pardon." 

" And did he ?" said Mr. Fitzurse. 

" Oh no," replied Tom Hamilton ; " he Said he would never ask 
pardon of any son-of-a-bitch in Europe." 

" Well ?" cried Mr. Fitzurse, with his mouth wide open. 

" Oh, Markem shot him through the head, that's all : but the jury 
found him not guilty, because he had made overtures for a recon- 
ciliation. But to talk on more serious matters, Fitzurse, what do you 
intend to do ? Do act decidedly, one way or another." 

" Why what would you do, Tom, if you were I ?" drawled Mr. 

" Why," cried Tom Hamilton, with a thoughtful and considerate air, 
" I think I should be inclined to fight him : he might miss one, you 
know. But then, of course, if I really did like the girl, and had 
promised to marry her, that would make a great difference. Come, 
Fitzurse, I'll tell you what will be the best plan. No man likes to do 
any thing upon compulsion, you know ; so suppose you fight him first, 
and then, if you happen to escape, or are only wounded, you can marry 
her afterwards ; then you will avoid being prosecuted for breach of 
promise ; and, in regard to this business of Miss Longmore, instead of 
being tried for carrying off" forcibly an heiress with the intent to marry 
her against her will, you can answer at once that you had no such 
intention, as you were just about to marry another person. But by all 
means fight him first — fight him first ; take my advice." 

" No, no ; demm it," cried the honourable gentleman, " if I am to 
do all that, I shall have work enough for one morning ; so I'll have no 
fighting, Tom. It's very unpleasant stuflT, fighting ; and one has such 
a headache after." 

" That's the brandy," said Tom Hamilton, significantly. 

" But I say, Tom," continued Mr. Fitzurse, with a blank look, " how 
are we to manage this devil of a marriage ? The peer will never con- 
sent, and he'll make me fight at all events." 

The words " that would be difficult" sprang to Tom Hamilton's lips, 
but he thought of the fishing and shooting, and merely replied, " Oh, 
very easy ; a private marriage, you know, pleasant and romantic. 
You can conceal it then as long as you like. You are both of age. 


We can ride over and get a licence to-morrow ; and old Hookham, the 
parson, whom your father put in because he outdranli him by a bottle, 
will make you one flesh in no time." 

"Vairy well," said Mr. Fitzurse, thoughtfully; but just at that 
moment the door of the library opened, a step was heard, and in walked 
Mr. Darius at full length. 

Mr. Fitzurse gave a great start, and his under jaw rattled as if there 
were a screw loose. 

" Ah, my dear sir," said Mr. Darius, advancing with a sweet and 
pleasant air, " your uncle's sound asleep, Winterton is snoring, and so 
I took the opportunity just to pop out in order to inquire for a young 
lady who resides in this house, I am informed — a Miss Jane Markem." 

" Yes, sir ; yes, my dear sir ; yes," replied Mr. Fitzurse, with evi- 
dent marks of trepidation — " yes, she does live here. Don't go, Tom ; 
pray stay ; why where are you running to ?" 

" I'll be back again, my dear fellow," said Tom Hamilton. " Pve a 
little business to settle out here for a moment ; I'll be back again 
presently. You and this gentleman can entertain yourselves very well, 
I dare say, till I come back." 

" Why what's the matter, my dear sir ?" said Mr. Darius ; " you 
seem alarmed. I hope nothing unpleasant has occurred — ^nothing to 
occasion you apprehension." 

" Oh no ; oh dear, no," replied Mr. Fitzurse, doing his best to look 
easy. " Pray be seated — pray be seated. Charming person Miss 
Markem — delightful person ; don't know any body for whom I've a 
greater respect and esteem, and all that ; very charming person in- 

" Very happy to hear you think so, sir," replied Mr. Darius, in a 
tone which the honourable gentleman thought somewhat dry. " I myself 
cannot judge of her charms, not having seen her since her childhood. 
However, she ought to be a charming person, and that's enough for any 
one, sir. Her family was most respectable, and that's quite enough for 
any body, I say. Don't you think so, sir ?" 

" Oh quite, quite, quite," repUed Mr. Fitzurse ; who would not at 
that moment have contradicted any of the dogmas of his revered 
companion for a dukedom at the very least. " Quite sufficient for any 

" I am glad you think so," said the tall man, in as dry a tone as 

" Oh decidedly," replied Mr. Fitzurse ; " I agree with you perfectly ; 
and indeed intend very shortly to show how completely I agree with 
you, by deeds as well as words." 

" I am happy to hear it," replied six foot and an inch. " But pray 
may I have the honour of seeing this young lady ?" 

« Oh certainly, certainly," replied Mr. Fitzurse, "indubitably. Just 
wait till Tom Hamilton comes back, and — and " 

" Will Mr. Hamilton's presence be necessary ?" said Mr. Fitzurse's 
tall friend. 

" Why I think so," replied Mr. Fitzurse, growing every moment 


more nervous. " Tom ! why where the deuce is the fellow got to ? 
Why, Tom," he said, going to the door, " Tom !" 

For a moment, as there was no answer, Mr. Fitzurse considered the 
propriety of running ; and it is probable that such would have been 
the consummation of his interview with the tall gentleman with the 
Persian Christian-name, had not the latter at that moment advanced to 
the door, saying, " Can I fetch him, Mr. Fitzurse ? though I really do 
not see what is the need for his presence. I am delighted with the 
pleasure of your company, and can enjoy your society tete-a-tete for 
half an hour very comfortably." 

" D — n your supercilious politeness," said Mr. Fitzurse to himself. 
" It's just the way with all these cut-throats : they are as civil while 
they are butchering you as a slaughterhouse-man sticking a lamb. I 
wish Tom Hamilton would come. Oh, I must marry her, that's clear 
enough ; there's no getting off. Tom was quite right ; it must be 
done, and one may as well do it with a good grace ; so here goes 

1 am very happy indeed, sir," he continued aloud, " you speak in 

such high terms of this young lady's family; for to let you into a secret, 
I intend to marry her." 

" My dear sir," cried Mr. Darius, grasping his hand, " I am delighted 
to hear it. I can assure you I am overjoyed, and trust it will be for 
your mutual happiness." 

" Oh I don't doubt it in the least," replied Mr. Fitzurse ; " Fm sure 
she's a very good girl, and a very pretty girl too." 

" Well, that's all lucky," said Mr. Darius, in a sort of indifferent tone, 
which made the honourable scion of the house of Outrun fancy that he 
suspected no such marriage would have taken place but for his 

" I can't help that," he said to himself ; " demme, the fellow can't 
call me out for not intending to do a thing. Ah, here comes Tom ! 
Why, my dear Tom Hamilton, where have you been to ?" 

" Our friend here," said Mr. Darius, in an elevated and patronizing 
manner, " has done me the honour of communicating to me his intention 
of espousing Miss Jane Markem." 

" The devil he has !" said Tom Hamilton. 

" I can't tell what the deuce he means," said Mr. Darius, in a whis- 
per ; " but I never saw any body so civil in all my life." 

Tom Hamilton gave a significant glance, to indicate the necessity of 
caution ; and Mr. Fitzurse, grasping him by the arm, drew him a little 
on one side, saying, " I say, Tom, he wants to see her ! Demme, 
what's to be done ? He wants to see her ! Why, if one doesn't prime 
her, she may tell all about it, and then there will be the devil to pay." 

" Leave it to me — leave it to me," said Tom. " He mustn't see her 
yet on any account. Let me prepare her mind, and reason with her. 
You know, if you marry her, she has no business to say any thing. 
If she gets married, that's all she has to do with it. She may make a 
great deal of mischief else." 

" Tell her so — ^tell her so, Tom; there's a good fellow," whispered 
Mr. Fitzurse. 

302 THE commissioner; or, 

« Certainly," replied Tom Hamilton. " I will tell her she may get 
you shot, if she doesn't mind ; and she won't like that, I suspect. It's 
a terrible thing to see him one loves killed, lying with a large hole in 
their head or their heart ; yet such might be the consequence of any 
indiscretion on her part." 

Cruel Tom Hamilton ! Thou wert now sporting unnecessarily with 
the feelings of the gentle and amiable being who reposed such implicit 
confidence in thee. One whose virtuous abhorrence of bloodshed, 
whose fondness for all pacific arts, whose Christian forbearance from 
all acts which might endanger the lives of others and himself ought 
to have commanded more consideration and respect. Why didst thou 
laugh in thy sleeve, Tom Hamilton, and chuckle in secret cachinnation 
over all the thrilling emotions which, with the microscope of much 
experience, you saw going on in the Fitzursine heart ? So it was, 
however ; but at length he condescended to relieve his friend by 
addressing Mr. Darius in a solemn and considerate tone, and saying — 
" My friend Fitzurse here informs me that you are desirous, my dear 
sir, of seeing Miss Markem to-night ; but, under the circumstances, 
unless her mind were properly prepared, I think it might agitate her 
too much. The viscount, too, might wake and come out ; and as this 
affair of the marriage is to be kept profoundly secret, that would never 
do. Wait till to-morrow morning, then: in the meantimje, let me 
speak to you for a moment. Fitzurse, you go into the drawing-room 
again, and I will settle every thing with my worthy friend here.'* 

" Very well, very well," replied Mr. Fitzurse, moving towards the 
door. But ere he reached it, he stopped, beckoned to Tom Hamilton, 
and whispered in his ear when he came, " I say, Tom, mind you don't 
make him angry. I agree to every thing — every thing, you know — 
settlements — any thing you like ; only I won't fight. Can't fight 
Jane's cousin, you know ; that's quite out of the qiiestion." 

" Certainly, certainly," replied Tom Hamilton ; ''if you are going to 
marry her, you can't, of course, shoot her nearest relation ; but as to 
marrying her, that's another affair ; there's no compulsion, you know. 
I'll tell him you won't marry her in a minute, if you like it." 

" No, no, no," cried Mr. Fitzurse with great rapidity. " Demme, 
I'll marry her ; nothing shall stop me from marrying her 1" and with a 
mind greatly relieved by bis own vigour of determination, Mr. Fitzurse 
left the room. 






" Let us request the Chevalier de Lunatico to go," said Mr. Alderman 
Rotundity, addressing a party of six other gentlemen assembled at the 
Half Moon, at Outrun, a little after nine o'clock on the morning of 
the following day. " He is perfectly unprejudiced and disinterested ; 
no one is so well fitted as himself to bear our ultimatum. If we go as 
magistrates we must act as magistrates, and deal with the matter, not 
according to feeling but according to law. Mr. Longmore and Harry 
Worrel are, as they well- may be, too much excited and indignant. 
No one but the chevalier, in short, is, by coolness, calmness, deliberate 
wisdom, and freedom from all prejudice, calculated to bear our flag of 

" Hear, hear, hear !'* cried every body present. 

The chevalier thrust his hand into the bosom of his waistcoat, 
thought for a moment, and then replied — 

" Cool I certainly am, deliberate I imdoubtedly wiU be, unprejudiced 
I am officially, but I cannot say I am disinterested where my fair friend, 
Laura, is concerned. However, gentlemen, I will undertake the task, 
and execute it to the best of my abilites, if you think fit. But let me 
know precisely the terms of my mission." 

" It is simply this," replied Mr. Rotundity — " I speak under the 
correction of these gentlemen, to demand, in our united names, that 
Miss liaura Longmore be immediately restored to her father." 

" Or rather to the whole body of magistrates here sitting, that they 
may deliver her to her father," said Mr. Puddenstream. 

" Nay, nay, nay," said Mr. Rotundity, " it comes to the same thing. 
* Alter rixatur de lana scepe caprina et propugnat nugis armatus* 
Say her father, chevalier ; but at the same time give notice, that if 
before the hour of noon, the young lady is not in this parlour, a search 
warrant will be immediately issued, as well as warrants for the appre- 
hension of all persons who, we have reason to believe, were concerned 
in this gross act of abduction." 

" Well, gentlemen," replied the chevalier, with a low bow, and a 
look which, if it had been exhibited by one of the ordinary beings of 
our terrestrial sphere, we should have called conceited, but which, con- 
sidering his high station, his qualities, and mission, could only be looked 
upon as an expression of well-justified self-confidence and trust in his 
own powers — " well, gentlemen, I will undertake the charge you give 
me ; but excuse me for reiterating my opinion, that you will be disap- 


" Thus saying, he quitted the room, mounted a horse which had 
been lent him by the worthy alderman, and once more took his way 
along that memorable road by which he had proceeded once before 
upon a mission of a belligerent character. The horse, as the reader 
knows, had come some miles that morning, and the chevalier was a 
man tender to the brute creation. God gave us power over them, he 
always thought, to use them, but not to ill use them. There is a sort 
of compact he would say, between man and his beast : the beast pro- 
mises his services, and the man his protection ; and whoever breaks the 
engagement is a swindler. If reason gives me power over a beast, the 
chevalier would go on, it ought to give me power over myself, other- 
wise I am the greater beast of the two. In consequence of such 
reasoning, the chevalier went slow ; and before he had gone a hundred 
yards along the lane, he heard the trotting of another horse behind 
him. The chevalier was a wise man ; and though he looked about him 
in the world, he never looked behind him, but calmly and impertur- 
bably went upon his way, leaving every thing that was past to take 
care of itself, and any thing that was following to come up if it could. 
In the space of one minute and six-and-forty seconds, however, there 
rode up to the chevalier, upon a stout, brown horse, a tall, thin, bony 
man, dressed in a long cut coat of black, a waistcoat with large flaps, 
and black silk stockings. On the top of his head was a -small three- 
cornered cocked hat, and over his stockings were drawn, very nearly till 
they met the breeches, a pair of boots which might well have formed 
part of Miss Rotundity's museum, being portions of an extinct animal, 
namely, the beau of the eighteenth century. They were of the kind 
called pendragons, which was, indeed, a near approach to the hessian, 
and on the front of each hung down a large tassel of black silk, which 
gave to both legs a finish very similar to that which the person of the 
rider altogether received from a thick queue which dangled down the 
collar of his coat. 

" Ha, chevalier !" cried Mr. Longshanks, for Mr. Longshanks it 
was — " ha, chevalier ! is that you ? Why where are you riding too. 
Some fool's errand, I dare say." 

" Something like it, I am afraid," replied the chevalier, and he ex- 
plained to the worthy surgeon the object of his journey ; on which the 
latter immediately burst forth into one of his vehement tirades. 

" I thought so — I thought so," he cried. " It is the most extraordi- 
nary thing in the world, that if you see a man riding along the road 
between nine o'clock in the morning and eight o'clock at night, you 
may safely venture to swear that he is a fool, going upon some fool's 
errand. Not once in a thousand times will you be wrong." 

" And if you find a man going afte* eight," said the chevalier, 
" what may your deductions be then, my good friend ?" 

" That he's a rascal," replied Mr. Longshanks ; " the one is very 
nearly as sure as the other. Did vou look into the churchyard, che- 
valier, as you came along ?" 

" No," replied the chevalier, " I did not. 

" I did," replied Mr. Longshanks ; " I always ao. I like to look 
into a churchyard." 


" I should suppose," said the chevalier, slyly, " that it was not alto- 
gether an object of agreeable contemplation to gentlemen of your 

" Ha, ha!" cried Mr. Longshanks, "you have us there, my friend. 
But if all men were to see the churchyard with the same feelings 
that I do, most of our great surgeons might glory in their deeds. One 
never can convince men not to be idiots on such subjects, however ; and 
instead of looking upon the cemetery as the place of calm repose 
after this world's toil — the field in which the mortal body is sown in 
corruption to rise incorruptible — they regard it with horror, and fill it 
with the phantoms of fancy. The peaceful waving of the churchyard 
trees above my head wakens in me no dark and gloomy images, but, 
on the contrary, calls up faith and hope, with the blessed foretaste of 
that sort of reposeful feeling which we may anticipate in another 

" But I thought you surgeons," said the chevalier, " set your faces 
strongly against the idea of a resurrection of the body.'* 

" Fools, fools, fools ! my dear sir," said Mr. Longshanks — " I did not 
say surgeons were any thing but fools either. The only difference is, 
that they are fools with a knowledge of cutting, and sometimes a little 
anatomy. Not often that, however. But why do they say there is no 
resurrection ? Because the parts of the frame corrupt ? Because its 
particles separate ? Because they are dispersed here and there ? And 
is this the reason why the God who united them all at first, should not 
at his will recall into one frame all such atoms as may be fitted to form 
that incorruptible body with which we are to rise again ? Let no one 
tell me either that the vivifying principle may not remain full, perfect, 
ready for re-developement in each or any of those atoms for thousands, 
ay, and for millions of years. Do we not see the animalcules which 
have lain dead in the very heart of the rock, burst forth into life again 
after unknown ages of apparent extinction ? Do we not see the grain 
of wheat which has been buried for thousands of years with the 
mummy in the catacomb, still retain within itself the principle of life, 
and grow green and flourish when taken from the tomb ? Where shall 
this stop ? Why should it ever stop ? and still more, why should we 
doubt it when the lips of embodied truth have told us that it shall 
be so?" 

" Upon my word, I don't know," replied the chevalier ; " but I have 
got a great number of little tickets in my pocket, much at the service of 
those good people who do doubt it. Scepticism seems to be one of the 
great lunacies of the age : people doubt every thing, even after it has 
been proved a thousand times, and go back to the same arguments that 
have been refuted over and over again, as if they were quite new and 

" Very true, chevalier, very true," replied Mr. Longshanks. " Look 
at the question of infection and non-infection — you hear the drivellers 
arguing upon it from morning till night ; and, not contented with 
impugning the character of the spasmodic cholera, they would take 
away the very reputation of the plague. There is no proposition in 

c. NO, X. X 


Euclid more clearly demonstrable and demonstrated, than that the 
plague is infectious. Russel proved it beyond all possibility of doubt, 
half a century ago, and yet there are dolts found to deny the fact 
even now ; stupidly arguing, because one man, subjected to the influence 
of the poison, does not take the disease, that it is not communicable 
by such means." 

" I have always heard," replied the chevalier, " that in logic it re- 
quired a great number of negatives to dispose of one affirmative ; but 
probably, in such matters as you speak of, the affirmative cannot be 
distinctly proved." 

" Just as distinctly, I say," cried the surgeon, « as any other propo- 
sition. When a man lifts up his hand and makes a straightforward 
blow, and his fist touches another man's head, and that other man 
tumbles down, you may say that there is no proof that the one was 
knocked 1)y the other ; for he may have fallen down on purpose, as 
men do upon the stage, just at the moment the other's fist touched his 
head ; but if you see a great many people very unwilling to tumble 
down, who all fall the moment that the man strikes at them in the same 
way, there is sufficient proof for any reasonable man, that he is the 
knocker down and the others are the knockees. Thus, if one man 
catches a particular disease, when he visits another who has got it, that 
is no absolute proof that the disease is contagious or infectious either ; 
but if every body but one or two catch it, who do visit the sick person, 
you may naturally conclude that it is infectious or contagious. I'll 
tell you, chevalier, how these people contrive to befool themselves and 
all the world : they don't lay down their premises properly, and 
consequently argue from a false foundation. Their first mistake is, 
thinking that you can hold water in a sieve. Before a man can take op 
receive a disease, his constitution must be susceptible of it — no man can 
have the gout in his toe, who has two wooden legs. Many men who have 
had the small-pox are insusceptible of receiving it again, and nothing 
you will do will give it them. The same is the case with all other 
diseases. The first condition is, that a man's body should be in such a 
condition that the disease can take hold upon him. There are three 
grand species of disease, sir, in this world : diseases that are neither in* 
factious nor contagious ; diseases that are contagious but not infectious ; 
and diseases which are infectious — which last I believe to be universally 
contagious also. The first class proceeds from some disorganization of 
the man's own body, or from some poison imbibed, which has its specific 
effect, but is not reproduced by the body on which it acts. The second 
proceeds from some poison imbibed, which reproduces itself, but which 
is not diffusible in the fluid which we call air. It can be commu- 
nicated to another person alone by the touch ; is taken in by one or other 
of those little mouths that are open all over the human body ; and is just 
as much a poison as if it acted through the stomach. The third is a 
similar poison, but is diffusible or soluble in the air. It may be 
through the lungs it acts, it may be through the stomach, it may be 
through the skin ; but the only difference between it and the other 
poison I have mentioned, is the diffiisibility of the one and not of the 


Other ; and this makes tne difference between contagion and infection. 
Both of these latter diseases require, as I have before said, a certain 
condition in the body of man for their reception ; but the latter, from 
the very quality of diffusibility which it possesses, requires another 
condition, that is — a certain state of the air in which it is dissolved. 
This air is a fluid, like water, or any thing else ; but some things won't 
dissolve in cold water at all, but will in hot. If I dissolve oxalic acid 
in pure water, it is rank poison ; but if that water contains a certain 
portion of alkali, the acid is neutralized, and the drink becomes harm- 
less. This theory is enough to explain all the phenomena of disease, 
and there is no other theory that can ; so that those who pretend 
there is no such thing as contagion and infection, are no better than 

" I heard it asserted the other day," said the chevalier, " that when 
you had lately a severe epidemic in the country, both physicians and 
politicians endeavoured to cry down the idea of infection, in order to 
diminish the alarm." 

" I do not know whether they did or not," replied his companion ; 
" but if they did, the only difference that makes, chevalier, is to 
show them liars as well as fools, but not a bit the less fools for 
that, for every liar is a fool in the very first instance. Truth, my dear 
sir, truth, is to morals, what gold is to metals — the only thing perfectly 
pure, and therefore a species of riches which every one should covet, 
as possessing intrinsic value that never can be lost. No chemistry can 
decompose it ; the worst air cannot tarnish it ; its value is recognised 
by all nations ; and the moral gold has this advantage over the mineral, 
that no one can rob us of it, and if we lose it, it is by our own fault." 

" I agree with you entirely," replied the chevalier, " but I wish we 
could get a little more of it, both in this world and the world from 
which I come. My belief is, that every body lies more or less, from 
the clergyman in the pulpit, to the politician in parliament ; from the 
glover who sells sheepskin for kid, to the orator who puts off his pri- 
vate interest for patriotism. All the world's a rascal, sir, and a very 
great rascal, too ; but I do particularly wish, at the present moment, 
that I could get at the truth of a story concerning a mutual friend of 

" Ah !" cried the surgeon, " who do you mean, who do you mean — 
Harry Worrel?" 

" No," replied the chevalier, " I mean Joey Pike ;" and thereupon 
he set to work, and related to Mr. Longshanks the whole of the state- 
ments made by the renowned Joey on the preceding evening. 

Mr. Longshanks listened with profound attention, and remained 
silent for at least two minutes after the chevalier had done. From the 
gravity of his look during those two minutes, nobody could have the 
slightest idea of what was to follow ; but in the end, he burst into a 
loud fit of laughter. 

" Well, chevalier," he said at length, "go on, go on. I could set you 
upon the right track, but I won't. You are fond of a wild goose 

308 "fHE commissioner; oh, 

chase I see, otherwise you would not oe riding now to Outrun Castle, 
to ask for a girl who, you know, is not there." 

" If you can set me upon the right track, I beg you will do it," said 
the chevalier; "and as to my own conduct, let me explain, first, 
that you ought to recollect, any private information I may possess 
regarding Miss Longmore, was given under an injunction to secrecy." 

" True, true," cried Mr. Longshanks, "you are a man of honour, 
and keep your word." 

"We lunatics always do," replied the chevalier, looking upon a 
promise, even when made to a woman, as a bond which we have no right 
to break. " But moreover, if I am fond of a wild goose chase, as you 
say, it is but a part of my mission ; for what other definition would you 
give of this expedition of mine, to look for stray spirits from the 
moon. It is a wild goose chase, indeed ; nevertheless, I have already 
bagged a good many birds, and shall bag a great many more before I 
have done with them. Take care, my dear Mr. Longshanks, that you 
are not amongst the number." 

Mr. Longshanks laughed again heartily, and replied — 

" Well, well, go on, go on I Catch me if you can ; but as for this 
business of Joey Pike, all I have to tell you is, the boy's a fool. Ne- 
vertheless, in the hunt, you may come upon things that you little 
expect; but I fear you will make nothing of it. Unless you can 
get some hold on that consummate blackguard, Jeremiah Tripe, there 
is no chance for you." 

" I have got a hold upon him," replied the chevalier emphatically ; 
" a hold from which he cannot escape." 

" Then grasp him tight," exclaimed Mr. Longshanks, " for I never 
knew such an old eel in my life. I once thought I had him at the 
point of death, and tried to make him confess, but he said if he was 
dying, he might as well have another bottle before he went. That 
first fuddled him, and then cured him ; and so I lost both my patient 
and my penitent. But as you are going on to the castle, I'll ride with 
you, for I'm bound thither also. They are all ill together there, it 
seems, and very likely are all dead by this time." 

" Why, what is the matter with them ?" exclaimed the chevalier, in 
some surprise. 

" Only the Asiatic cholera, I should think," replied Mr. Long- 
shanks. " If the man told the symptoms rightly, you will find them all 
by this time ?& stiff as a stockfish, and as blue as a bilberry ; there 
hasn't happened such good luck in the parish for the last forty year^. 
But let us get on, let us get on, for if they're all dead, I shall lose my 
fee, and I have promised Widow Green to re-thatch her cottage." 







" Why, my dear sir, my dear sir," cried Mr. Darius, whom we and 
Mr. Fitzurse, as the reader must potently recollect, left alone with 
Tom Hamilton in the library, "why did you place me in such an 
awkward position, without information, without knowledge, without 
the slightest indication of what I was to say, except a few words whis- 
pered after dinner ? The slightest indiscretion on my part, might have 
spoiled the affair. You must have supposed me to have possessed a 
genius superior to the whole human race." 

" Could I doubt it ?'* said Tom Hamilton ; « could I doubt that the 
man who, for a consideration, carried on two opposite daily journals 

at once — the high tory A , and the radical B , — and displayed 

equal ability in stating his arguments, and refuting them on each side ; 
the man who has furnished to the public more interesting accidents and 
offences ; more highway robberies, crimes, and misdemeanours ; more 
extraordinary natural phenomena; more shameful cases of scandal, and 
more touching and pathetic incidents, than any man in Europe — at the 
rate of a penny a line — could I doubt that he would be ready at a 
moment's notice, to deal with a subject of which he knew nothing, as 
glibly as Lord J R ." 

" Ah, my dear sir, you overwhelm me," exclaimed Mr. Darius ; " I 
really blush, but it was an awful situation to be placed in. He came 
very close to the subject, and I knew not a word about it. What could 
I do ? Why I made up my mind at once that I would look profound, 
speak dry, and talk vague. Not Sir Robert himself — my friend Sir 
Robert, I mean, who is destined one day or another to leave Pitt as 
much in the shade as Pitt left Walpole — not Sir Robert, I say, could 
have looked more coldly impenetrable upon a poor Conservative put- 
ting in his claim for official appointment, than I did upon this Fitzurse : 
not Sir Robert could have acted with more cool caution." 

" I doubt it not in the least," replied Tom Hamilton ; " I knew I 
left the matter in good hands, and in the meantime I went and spoke 
with Miss Markem, so she is now prepared to have a cousin." 

" But is she up to her part ?" exclaimed Mr. Darius ; " you must 
tell her every thing she has to say, and prepare her for all contin- 

" Not at all, not at all," replied Tom Hamilton ; " you mistake the 
matter and the person altogether. If I were to let her know that it 
was all a hoax, a thousand to one she would not consent to it ; and 

310 TJSB commissioner; or, 

even if she did, she would make some blunder in five minutes, which 
would let the cat out of the bag." 

" Then what must we do ?" cried Mr. Darius, in some surprise. 

« Hoax her too," replied Tom Hamilton. 

« Oh, I understand," said the tall man, " I understand ; but if he 
finds out that you have done the whole business ?" 

« Why I will fight him, if he likes it," replied Tom Hamilton, with 
a grim smile. " But to return to the matter in hand. I told her 
simply that her cousin, Mr. Darius Markem, had suddenly come back 
from India, and was actually in the house, to which she replied, * La, 
Mr. Hamilton, I never knew I had a cousin.' So now, my dear sir, 
you must as speedily as possible get up a story of your birth, parentage, 
and education ; your travels in India ; your return to England ; your 
accidental meeting with F(izurse ; and your coming down here." 

" That will soon be done, that will soon be done," replied Mr. 
Dari\]is -, ** the India part of the business is plain sailing enough, for 
that's all true." 

" I should suppose that there would lie the great difficulty,*' said 
Tom Hamilton ; "fiction is your forte." 

" You are too kind," said Mr. Darius ; " but though men say truth 
lies in a well, yet, in this instance, the truth is at hand, and we shall 
have to bucket up the fiction : so, as we have little time, we had as well 
take the truth, for want of something better. Having been in India, 
then, where you first met me — Ah! those were happy times, Mr. 
Hamilton. I was sub-editor of the * Poonah Kuzzilbash' then ; that 
was a slashing journal ; how we did cut up the governor-general, and 
all the members of council. However, there's no fear ; I'll make a 
story such as would defy the devil himself to separate the truth from 
the falsehood. We journalists can always do that ; truth, like gold^ 
is infinitely divisible, and a very few grains will serve to gild many 
hundred weight of the other thing. Give me ten minutes, and I can 
do it at any time. But where was the girl born? Where did her 
parents live ?" 

" Oh, at Market Greenford, Market Greenford," replied Tom 

But Mr. Darius was called upon to exercise his inventive faculties 
more speedily than he expected, for scarcely were the words Market 
Greenford out of Tom Hamilton's mouth, when the door of the library 
opened, and in walked the Honourable Augustus Frederick, or Frede- 
rick Augustus, leading in, tucked under his arm, Jane, the housemaid, 
in her after-dinner dress, blushing up to the eyes, and looking as pretty 
as possible. There was something touching, as a sentimental novelist 
would say, in the way in which Mr. Fitzurse managed the matter. He 
held her close to him — it might be to steady his steps — but kept her 
a little in advance towards Mr. Darius, as if he said to himself, " If this 
bloody Hector slay me, he must strike me through her we both love !" 

It was pathetic — it was tragic ; and Darius, who had a taste for the 
drama, instantly caught the tone and starting slightly, gazed for a 
moment in Jane's face, as if a thousand bewildering, but charming 


recollections rushed upon his mind. Then darting forward with 
extended arms, he folded her to his breast, exclaiming, " It is I It must 
be ! It ought to be, even if it isn't ! My sweet cousin ! My dear Jane !" 
and here he held up his right hand and both his eyes to heaven, and 
would fain have wept — but he couldn't. 

Poor Jane was very much affected ; and Mr. Fitzurse had nearly fallen 
flat upon his back. But instantly Mr. Darius seized him by the wrist 
with one hand) took Jane's delicate fingers with the other, and 
dragged them both forward towards Tom Hamilton, like Norma, 
with her pretty little illegitimates. Then freeing the wrist of the 
Honourable Frederick, he waved his hand, and taking Tom Hamilton 
for the audience, spoke the following speech : — 

" This is the most touching moment of my life. How sweet, how 
trebly sweet, when, after wandering far in distant lands, friendless and 
lonely, with my heart sighing for the sweet relationships of life, I return 
to my native land, and find so fair a flower as this, grown up from the 
parent stock from which I sprung, and ready to entwine in matrimonial 
union with this sturdy scion of a high and honourable tree — Do you 
recollect me, cousin ?" 

"No, indeed, sir," replied Jane, m the simplest possible tone, I 
never saw you before, that I remember." 

" Ah, your young eyes were innocent of mischief when I left these 
shores," said Mr. Darius. 

" Ha, ha, ha !" cried Mr. Fitzurse, who was beginning to recover 
from his apprehension, and willing to become a little famiHar with his 
tall cousin, " mischievous enough now." 

" Sir !" said Mr. Darius, in a tone that made Mr. Fitzurse dwindle 
into nothing in a moment, " may I ask you to repeat what you said ?'* 

" Oh, nothing at all, nothing at all," said Mr. Fitzurse in a great 
hurry, while Jane could almost have cried, at finding herself, for the 
first time, with one so ready to take her part. " I only said they were 
very pretty little wicked eyes as ever I saw." 

" Wicked ?" said Mr. Darius, turning with a aoubtful look towards 
Tom Hamilton — " Wicked ? That's complimentary, I think ?" 

" Decidedly !" said Tom Hamilton ; " but come, come, my good 
friend, you are always too quick and peppery ; sit down and tell us all 
about yourself. I recollect you in India, filling a very comfortable 
situation, but of your previous history I know nothing." 

" My story shall be told in a minute," replied the tall man, unbend 
ing from his tragic airs, and the party being seated around, he pro- 
ceeded, with vast powers of composition, and a somewhat jocular air, 
as follows : — 

" 1 was born in the little town of Market Greenford, but as I have 
not seen it for many years, (he never saw it in his life,) I will not 
attempt to give a particular account of it." 

" You need not," said Mr. Fitzurse, " for we all know it quite well." 

" WeU," continued Mr. Darius, " my father, the uncle of this fair 
lady, who was a tall man like myself " 

** My father was very short and fat," said Jane. 

312 THE commissioner; or, 

" That's what I was going to observe," said Mr. Danus ; " my 
father, who was a very tall man, like myself, carried off all the length 
of the family ; and at an early period he entered an honourable pro- 
fession, the apprentices of which receive, instead of paying, a fee. 
With that fee, which amounted to about one pound ten, he commenced 
his career ; and in the ranks of his brethren he soon got up — I mustn't 
say he rose, for he couldn't be well higher than he was, being six feet 
four without his shoes. In the course of time he became a sergeant, 
but whether in the court, or the camp, I must leave you to divine. 
Finding himself then in a state to maintain a family, he married my 
mother, who was the widow of a general merchant, and had seen a 
great deal of life, and not a little of death too, having been, with her 
husband, entangled in some transactions with the army, to which they 
became commissioners of supply. On the decease of her first husband, 
who died in a more elevated situation than he had ever hoped to obtain, 
through some unfortunate accident, which produced nearly the same 
effects as a quinsy, she did not long remain a widow, for her charms 
and her spirit soon won the affections of my father, and I was the first 
and only fruit of their union." 

*' La," said Jane. 

" Of all the heroes of antiquity," continued the tall gentleman, 
" whom my father had ever heard of, the great Persian, whose name I 
bear, was the one he admired most, because he was chosen king by 
the neighing of a horse." 

*' Pray why did that render him so peculiarly estimable ?" demanded 
Tom Hamilton. 

" Because most kings, when they are chosen at all, are chosen by 
the braying of asses," replied Mr. Darius. " However, Darius was I 
called, and after a certain lapse of time, my father retired from the 
profession he had embraced, and took to the cure of soles." 

" What ! turned parson I suppose ?" said Mr. Fitzurse. 

" Excuse me, sir," said the tall man, " but the soles he dealt with 
were of a different kind. Though he exercised several of the offices 
of a parson upon them ; occasionally bored them, sometimes joined 
them together, hammered away at them a great deal, and did the last 
offices for them, yet he wasn't a parson, properly so called. Well, I 
went on growing, as you may imagine, and my worthy parent, who 
was himself a man of education, determined that 1 should have the 
same advantages as himself, so he sent me to school, through which I 
passed with some eclat. My father made the schoolmaster a present 
annually, of a leathern strap, with which our lessons used to be im- 
pressed upon our memories and the palms of our hands with great 
vigour and discretion. Twice every day, morning and evening, my 
hand used to receive the friendly and beneficial print of this tough 
piece of hide ; but at length the master took to flogging as well as 
strapping, and thought fit to whip me twice in one day. By this time, 
I was sixteen, taller than himself and well nigh as stout. Now, my 
father having been a sergeant^ as I said, I had a natural dislike to 
corporal punishment, so 1 lay in btd all night, thinking how I could 


revenge myself. At length a bright idea crossed my mind : he has 
flogged me, I thought, so hang me if I don't flog him ; and the next 
morning, having laid my plan with two fellow-sufferers, we caught 
the master in the school-room, tied his hands, seized upon the birch, 
and applied four-and-twenty good sounding lashes upon the most 
fleshy part of his person. He did not like it at all ; and as may be 
conceived, after such a performance, it was high time for me to quit 
school, which I did instanter, without asking if the holy days had begun. 
Home I dared not go, and so I went away to my aunt's — your poor 
dear mother's, Jane. She was a pretty little woman, as ever I set eyes on." 

" La, she was very tall," said Jane. 

" Ay, that was what I was going to observe," said Mr. Darius, who 
was a grand master of humbug. " She was tall, compared with her 
husband, but nevertheless, she was small for her size, especially about 
the waist, and you can't deny that she had a very pretty little foot 
and ancle like yourself" 

" Ay, that she had, I do believe," said Jane, with a sweet smile, and 
Mr. Darius proceeded — 

" I then enlisted in a corps that was going to India." 

" Pray was it not the horse-marines ?" said Tom Hamilton, who had 
enjoyed himself greatly. 

" No," answered Mr. Darius ; " it was a regiment of heavy infantry, 
where every man was obliged to be six feet and an inch ; and as I 
measured that height, I was readily admitted. Having arrived in 
India, I distinguished myself greatly, as you know, Mr. Hamilton, in the 
attack upon the caves of Elephanta, and the storming of the heights of 
Persepolis. I rose gradually, and had I been able to purchase, might 
soon have been colonel of the regiment ; but first came that unfortu- 
nate affair, when I shot young Smith, you know ; and then you recol- 
lect, Hamilton, my duel with the general, poor fellow." 

" Oh, perfectly, perfectly," said Tom Hamilton, while Mr. Fitzurse 
got to the other side of his chair, and turned very cold about the feet 
and hands. 

" I didn't intend to kill him," continued Mr. Darius, " but he would 
have it ; and after that it was quite vain to think of promotion in the 
army, so I laid down the sword, and took up the pen, in following 
which I was nearly as successful ; so that having at last made a com- 
fortable little independence, I visited the great wall of China, made a 
pleasure tour to Kamtchatka, spent a very delightful day with the Sultan 
of Borneo, when I helped him to cut off the heads of fifty of his great 
nobles who had rebelled against him, and then turning my steps home- 
ward, I touched at New South Wales, where I spent a week very 
agreeably, in shooting off kangaroos' tails with my duelling pistols — 
very good practice, you know, Hamilton." 

" The monster !" murmured Mr. Fitzurse to himself. 

" I then went to New Zealand and the Tonga Islands," continued 
Mr. Darius, " where the chiefs received me with the greatest kindness, 
and feasted me during three weeks upon men's livers, and young ladies' 
noses. Don't be alarmed, my dear Jane, they were only black women. 


you know, and it does not much matter whether they have noset 
or not.*' 

« Oh !" said Jane. 

" I learnt there to dance their war-dance," continued Mr. Darius, 
"and could dance it as well as a native. Shall I show it to you 



" Oh, by all means, by all means," replied Mr. Fitziu'se, who was 
determined to be as civil as possible. 

" Well, then, here's for you," cried Mr. Darius, starting up, and 
pulling off his coat and waistcoat. " Put back the chairs, quick, quick ! 
Make a circle round, and every one, as I dance, sing as loud as they 
can bawl. Twang, twang-ho-fung, foodle-loodle-doo. Now begin, now 
begin. I ought to be naked by rights, but perhaps youll excuse that. 
— Now then, twang, twang-ho-fung, foodle-loodle-doo !" 

" Twang, twang-ho-fung, foodle-loodle-doo," cried Tom Hamilton, 
roaring with laughter. 

" Tweng, tweng-hoo-fing. tweedle-leedle-doo," cried Mr. Fitzurse, 
who did not well know what to make of the matter. 

" Twang, twang-ho-fung, foodle-loodle-doo," cried Jane, almost in 
hysterics with excitement, astonishment, and fright. 

In the meantime, Mr. Darius began his exhibition, and danced away 
in the midst, like a bedlamite, jumping five or six feet from the 
ground, waving his hands, kicking out his feet, contorting his body, 
grinning diabolically, and shouting forth with the full strength of his 
lungs, twang, twang-ho-fung, foodle-loodle-doo ! 

Now he approached Jane, who shrunk into a corner; and after 
making himself into the image of a Russian spread-eagle, he whirled 
round seven times upon his heel, like a Turkish dervise. Then he 
rushed towards Tom Hamilton, and contorted himself into every sort 
of shape, while Tom literally shrieked with laughter ; and then, after 
spinning round for two or three minutes, like a teetotum, he snatched 
the poker from the fire-place, brandished it round his head, like the 
sails of a mill, and darted upon Mr. Fitzurse. 

" Twang, twang-ho-fung, foodle-loodle-doo," shouted Mr. Fitzurse, 
terrified out of his wits, at the ferocious savage he had brought upon 

But the charm seemed to have lost its effect, or Mr. Darius 
to have gone stark-staring mad, for seizing his unhappy victim by the 
throat, he cast him prostrate on the ground, shortening the poker at 
the same time, and vociferating in a sort of hoarse recitative, 

" Now I've got him ! now I'll scalp hira 
Where's the man that now can help him ?" 

At that very moment, however, the door of the library opened, and 
in rushed the viscount, Mr. Winterton, Jerry Tripe, and half-a-dozen 
lackeys, each exclaiming, " What's the matter ? What's the matter ? In 
the name of fortune, ivhat's the matter ?" 

« Twang, twang-ho-fung, foodle-loodle-doo," cried Tom Hamilton, 





coming forward, and skilfully covering the retreat of Jane by the 
opposite door. " Only the war-dance of the Tonga Islands, my lord ; 
don't meddle with him ! don*t meddle with him just at present ! I'll 
soon calm him, I'll soon calm him ;" and drawing Mr. Darius off the 
prostrate Fitzurse, he waved his hand gracefully, saying, " Leave him 
to me, leave him to me ; he'll soon be as gentle as a lamb." 

Mr. Fitzurse crept out of the library door upon all-fours, calling to 
the rest of the party, " Come away, come away, he's the devil incar- 
nate, I think ;" and after gazing for a moment in stupified astonish- 
ment at Tom Hamilton and Mr. Darius, the viscount and the rest of 
the party beat their retreat, and left the two to indulge in explosions 
of laughter, which shook a cloud of dust from the books around. 





After the conclusidn of the war-dance of the Tonga Islands, an 
interval of peace seemed to fall upon Outrun Castle. Tom Hamilton, 
returning with Mr. Darius to the drawing-room, related to the viscount 
as much of his friend's history as he thought fit, and explained that, 
sometimes when dancing the war-dance, a host of memories regarding 
the fine primeval state of happy innocence in which he had lived 
amongst the natives of the pacific, would occasionally rush upon him, 
and make him forget altogether that he had returned to our corrupt and 
vicious state, he would take all sorts of little liberties with any other 
human beings who might fall in his way, deprive them of the hair 
and skin of the upper part of the head, or slightly fracture their skull 
with any thing which he conceived to be a tomahawk, with the inno- 
cent view of making a comfortable meal before he retired to rest. 

This explanation did not seem at all satisfactory to the viscount, and 
whether it was that he did not consider the society of Mr. Darius very 
desirable, or that the account of his proceedings turned his stomach, 
he replied to Tom Hamilton's account — 

" Very well, Tom, very well, Tom, keep him to yourself, keep him to 
yourself. By jingo, I don't like such fellows. Chain your bear, man ! 
chain your bear ! and send him away as soon as possible : in the 
meantime I'll go to bed, for I don't feel very easy about the stomach. 
My craw has been out of order ever since I ate those cursed truffles ;" 

31^ THE commissioner; or, 

and away he went, his departure being a signal for the party to 
disperse, after the arrangement of some plans for the following day 
between Tom Hamilton, Mr. Darius, and the honourable scion of the 
house of Outrun. 

For about two hours solemn silence dwelt over Outrim Castle ; but 
then some one was heard moving. Shortly after other steps were 
heard, and doors closed and opened. The viscount, whose eyes had 
only been shut for half an hour, and had then been forced open again 
by sundry pains and pinches in the abdominal region, rang his bell 
exactly at a quarter past three o'clock in the morning ; and the good 
stout cook, who was lying on her back in bed, with her head pillowed 
on her arm, chuckled till she threw herself into a perspiration at the 
sound of the tinkling, and muttered — 

" Ay, ring away, you'll not have done with it for these six hours, if 
I'm right. I'd give a groat to see him, that I would. I dare say he's 
all doubled up, like a boiled lobster." 

In five or ten minutes more the viscount rang again, and Jerry 
Tripe, who had heard the first bell, but could not conveniently attend 
to it at the moment, issued forth with a candle in his hand, looking 
somewhat dolorous himself. At the foot of the staircase, he met Tom 
Hamilton, who passed him without saying a word. At the first landing- 
place was Mr. Winterton, who, recognising the butler's face, asked 
him the way back to his bed- room, received directions and passed on. 

" Jerry, Jerry," said the voice of the Honourable Augustus Frede- 
rick, " I wish you'd make me a glass of warm brandy and water ; I've 
got a confounded pain in my stomach. 

" It won't do, sir," said Jerry ; " I've tried it, and I'm worse than 

" I should like some, though," said Mr. Fitzurse, with a strange 
contortion of countenance. 

" There goes my lord's bell again," cried Jerry ; " he's got a pain, 
too, I'll bet any money ;" and away he went to the viscount's chamber, 
and found his lord and master sitting up in bed under his nightcap, 
with his eyes rolling wildly in his head, and his two hands clasped 
upon his goodly paunch. 

"Why, are you all drunk, or deaf, or stupid?' cried the peer. 
" Here am I with the devil of a colic, and I can get nobody to come 
to me. Get me some fomentations ; I shall die, Fm sure I shall die ! 
Where's Freddy — where's my son ?" 

" He's got the colic, too,*' said Jerry, « and so have I, and so has 

every body, I think I'm sure those copper saucepans are not rightly 

tinned — the kitchen-maid doesn't clean them properly." 

" By jingo, I'll horsewhip her," cried the peer ; « make some fomen- 
tations, I say ; I shall die I'm sure ! I never was so twisted to pieces 
in my life ; send Freddy here ; I should like to give him my blessing 
before I go." 

" His blessing !" said Jerry Tripe, lolling his tongue into his cheek, 
and shrugging his shoulder as he walked out of the room. 

But before he had well delivered his message to Mr. Fitzurse, the 
viscount's bell rang again, and the young gentleman and the butler 


nastening back together, found the peer sitting on the edge of the bed, 
much in the same situation of a classical gentleman called " my man 
John,** having " one stocking off and one stocking on,** but labouring 
evidentl)- under a physical incapability of putting on the other ; for 
every time he attempted to draw it over his foot, he was seized with a 
violent and painful contortion, which caused him to kick the stocking 
half across the room. 

" Fm going, my dear boy !** he cried ; " I'm going ! Fve got such 
an infernal pain in the stomach, Tm sure I*m going.** 

" If that*8 any sign, Fm going with you,** said Mr. Fitzurse ; " for 
I've got such cramps all over here'* — and he spread his hands over the 
suffering part — " that I can scarcely hold myself up ; and so has Tom 
Hamilton, too, for he's wandering about just like a ghost." 

" What can we do ?" cried the viscount, who had obtained a 
moment's relief. 

" Ugh !** I don't know," replied his son, whose turn it was to suffer, 
and who was now writhing like an eel on an eel-spear. 

" Would your lordship like some punch ?** said Jerry Tripe, with an 
eye to his own benefit. 

" Punch ?" cried the viscount ; " that's just the thing — " 

" Punch cures the gout, the colic, and the phthisic, 
And it is to every man the very best of physic.*' 

" Get the punch, get the punch, Jerry." 

" Send for a doctor,** groaned Mr. Fitzurse ; " send for that damned 
old fellow Longshanks ; he*s a knowing hand ; I can't bear this ; it's 
arsenic, Fm sure." 

" Get the punch, Jerry, get the punch," cried the peer. " By jingo, 
it's coming on again, and I must have something to support natiu-e." 

Jerry moved a step towards the door, but ere he reached it he 
tottered, a sudden pang shot through his viscera, and despite of his 
reverence for his superiors, he sank into a chair, drawing his knees up 
to his chin, and grinning horribly a ghastly smile. 

" I can't," he cried, " I can't ! I shall never reach the pantry." 

" What's to be done ?" cried the peer. 

" Oh !'* roared Jerry. 

" Ring the alarm bell,** said Mr. Fitzurse. 

By jingo, we must have some help," replied his father ; and both 
making a desperate dart at the door together, they rushed into the 
passage, where hung the rope of the great bell ; and catching it in a 
conviJsive grasp, they tolled a peal that made the country round ring 
for miles. 

An instant commotion was created in the house, and every soul 
in it but the cook was soon a-foot. How she did chuckle as she lay in 
bed ! The first who appeared was Tom Hamilton ; then came Mr. 
Darius : Mr. Winterton, who had ate more, appeared last among the 
guests. The maids and men, v/ho had fared at the same table with the 
cook, were all comfortably buried in the arms of slumber ; but the 

318 THE commissioner; or, 

continual ringing of the alarm bell soon brought the whole household 
to the door of their lord's chamber. Punch was manufactured ; fomen- 
tations were prepared, and a messenger was sent off for Mr. Long- 
shanks, bearing a sad and doleful account of the state of Outrun 
Castle and its inhabitants. 

The peer, Tom Hamilton, Mr. Darius, and Mr. Fitzurse, drank 
deep, and certainly received a degree of relief, but still the potent 
moving cause within them gave them very little internal peace till 
about nine o'clock the next morning, when some repose began to come 
upon them, and Tom Hamilton, who felt his high manly powers some- 
what degraded by the peculiar sort of torture he had suffered, walked 
off to bed, saying as little upon the subject as possible. 

" I theenk I could fall asleep now," said the honourable scion. 

" Ay, do go and try, Freddy," said the peer ; " I'll get a nap, too, 
if I can. I wish that fellow Longshanks would come, for I declare 
there must be something wrong with those pots and kettles." 

Ere these proposed manoeuvres could be carried into execution, 
while Mr. Fitzurse was undergoing one final pinch, and the peer paused 
at his bedside, asking himself if it were not coming back again, the 
bell at the great door rang, and Mr. Longshanks, followed by the 
Chevalier de Lunatico, walked into the hall of Outrun Castle. 

" How is your master, puppy ?" demanded the surgeon of the foot- 
man who opened the door. 

" Very bad, sir," replied the man, who knew Mr. Longshanks's 
humour, and did not venture to quarrel with the epithet he bestowed 
upon him. 

" Well, if he's not dead," said Mr. Longshanks, " it's a good thing 
for him, and a bad thing for the country. I suppose this gentleman 
can't speak with him ?" 

" Lord bless you, sir," replied the man. 

" Well, I must see somebody," said the chevalier ; " so my good 
friend, have the kindness to tell one Jeremiah, alias Jerry Tripe, to 
speak with me for a moment or two ;" and tapping his boot gently 
with his riding-whip, the chevalier looked with his peculiar impressive 
and commanding expression in the man's countenance. 

" Why, Jerry's well nigh as bad as my lord," replied the servant ; 
"but I think he's a little better now, for I saw him sitting in the 
pantry, with a cloth over his face, to keep the flies off his nose ; and he 
was snoring so hard, that he blew the napkin up and down, and made 
a sort of fan of it." 

" Then he's either better, or in a fit of apoplexy," said Mr. Longshanks ; 
" and you may wake him in either case — if you can. While I go and 
see that old fool the peer, you go into the drawing-room, cheval'er, 
and see that old knave the butler ; if you can make any thing of him, 
you're a wiser man than I take you to be, or a greater rogue than 

The chevalier stepped lightly along into the drawing-room, which, 
as he expected, he found untenanted ; and as he was one of those men 
who never waste a minute, he looked round for something with which 


to amuse or instruct himself. Two or three small pictures were the 
first things that caught his eye. There was the portrait of the viscount, 
when he was young, representing him as rather a good-looking, swag- 
gering, rakehelly dare-devil — to use two or three good old words, now 
nearly obsolete — ^with a horsewhip in his hand. Then there was 
another portrait, an inscription under which pronounced it to be the 
likeness of Catherine Viscountess Outrun, one of those pale-eyed, 
hyena-looking women, who require the resources of matrimony to carry 
off the superabundant virulence of their spleen upon their husband and 
children ; or woe betide the neighbourhood which they inhabit in a 
state of celibacy. Then came a third, a young lady in a Joseph, 
representing the same personage whose portrait we have already 
described in the picture gallery. 

The reader may recollect, perhaps, that the chevalier had never 
beheld that portrait, but the one which was now before him he contem- 
plated for several minutes with great interest. A peculiar expression 
came into his face ; he laid the index of his right hand upon his pro- 
boscis, then took a thoughtful turn up the room, and then returned to 
the picture. 

A few seconds more seemed to satisfy him on that score, and his 
eyes fell upon a large book which lay, somewhat dusty, under one of 
the old-fashioned carved and gilt pier tables. He took it out, laid it 
down before him, and opened it. It was a Bible, bearing date 1660 ; 
and in a large blank leaf in the beginning was a long Ust of names 
and dates, showing it to be one of those old family bibles in which 
fond parents chronicle the births of their children — sad records, in the 
end, of every mortal joy and hope. 

The chevalier run his eye down the list, and read a brief accoxmt of 
several Barons Fitzurse ; then perceived how they became Viscounts 
Outrun ; but that was a matter of very little interest to him, so he 
went to the end of the list, at which he found the name of the Honour- 
able Henry Frederick Augustus. About him he cared not two straws, 
as the reader may well believe, but the name that stood above was one 
which seemed to please him better, for his eye rested on it thoughtfully. 
It was a lady's name, and stood immediately under that of the viscount, 
with some ten or twelve years between them, and as he read it over for 
the fifth time, he rubbed the tip of his finger slowly backwards and 
forwards on a bald place upon his temple, and then walked up to the 
picture again, and took another look at it. 

While he was still gazing, the door opened, and in came Jerry 
Tripe. Jerry was evidently better ; whatever it was that had affected 
him had lost its power, and though his face was, perhaps, a shade 
paler, the jewel that he carried on his head less brilliant, the " lan- 
tern in his poop" less resplendent, still he bore a bright and cheerful 
countenance, and came in with a step of wonderful elasticity. 

" Ah, Mr. Luny,** he cried, " I'm glad to see you. How wags the 
world with you, old gentleman ? We have had one or two sad bouts 
of it since you and I last met. I haven't had a moonlight ramble, or 
what I call a frolic, for I don't know the day ; so the exchequer's very 


empty. You have not got a few pictures of his majesty, set in gold, 
to give away, have you, my dear shuveleer ?" 

« It depends upon circumstances," said the chevalier drily. " I have 
got a twenty-pound note in my pocket for any one who chooses to 
give me a few true answers to a question or two I have to put to 

" That's it, that's it," replied Jerry, putting his hands in his breeches 
pockets, and gazing in the face of the chevalier with what may be 
called an up-to-any-thing expression of countenance ; " that's it, that's 
it ! Put your questions, old gentleman, put your questions ! You be 
Oddipus, and I'll be the Minx, as the classical gentlemen call it." 

The chevalier advanced a step towards him, laid his finger on his arm, 
and said, " Come here !" Then advanced slowly to the picture of the 
lady in the Joseph, pointed his digit towards it, and said, ** Who is that ?" 

" Why my lord's sister as was, to be sure," replied Mr. Tripe ; 
** didn't you know that, old gentleman ?" 

The chevalier made no reply to this last innocent interrogatory of 
Mr. Tripe's, but led him to the table, pointed to the name in the book, 
and then to the picture. 

Jerry Tripe nodded. 

" When did you last see her son ?" demanded the chevalier. 

The whole fat mass of Jerry Tripe started profoundly ; and he 
gaped in the face of the chevalier, without a word of answer. 

Come, come," cried Mr. de Lunatico, " tell me all about it !" 

Now, strange to say, and hardly to be believed, Jeremiah Tripe, 
Esquire, had his own peculiar notions of honour. Almost everybody 
has some certain dark corner of the heart, in which the unhappy and 
defeated remnant that remains unkilled of the army of good feelings 
and high principles with which we usually commence the warfare of 
the world, takes refuge, as a last strong-hold, to be defended to the 
utmost. Such was the case with Jerry Tripe. He was not particu- 
larly famous for principles of any kind ; but he would not betray his 
master. He shook his head resolutely, saying — 

" No, no, old gentleman, that won't do ! Any thing about myself 
that you like ; but hang it, I won't blab." 

" A twenty-pound note !" said the chevalier. 

" Not for twenty thousand," replied Jerry Tripe. 

" I suppose you know I can hang you, if I like ?" observed the 

" Not unlikely," answered Jerry Tripe ; « but I don't think you'll 
doit." ^ 

" As sure as you and I are alive," replied the chevalier ; "for to the 
bottom of this bad business I will get." 

I'll die game !" answered Jerry Tripe, without a moment's con- 
sideration, and away he walked out of the room. 








We have done great injustice to Laura Longmore — we have left her 
for three or four chapters without saying one single word of her fate 
and fortunes ; and even now, reader, we can but bestow a short space 
upon her, as we are hurrying rapidly towards the end of the first part 
of the chevalier's memoirs, and to the sad consummation of that history 
with which his adventures have been so intimately bound up. We left 
Laura Longmore then, pretty Laura Longmore, running over the corner 
of a ploughed field, towards a village church which rose up from some 
trees at a little distance. Her course was the image of human life, reader, 
or rather of human desires, for eager to get at her object, Laura's delicate 
small feet tripped rapidly over the furrows, stumbling at this clod, 
tumbling over that ridge, sinking into the soft ground, and cutting them- 
selves against the hard stones, till she found, as every one else will find, 
if they try, that, The way to get on quickly^ is not to go too fast. It is 
a sage apothegm, reader, wliich I commend to your kindly considera- 
tion. If you be young you have it to learn, if you be old you have learnt 
it already. 

She slackened her pace towards the end of the field, she picked her 
steps from ridge to ridge, and she made twice the way in the same time 
that she made before. At the end of the field, as I have before assured 
the reader, there was a small path crossing a clover field, and then a 
hedge with a stile, and then another field with two men ploughing in it. 
W^hile she was going through the clover field, Laura continued in a 
great fright, with her heart beating at a terrible rate, and her eyes 
every two or three steps turned over her shoulder to see if the madman 
was pursuing her ; but when she had crossed the stile and saw the two 
labourers, she asked herself whether she should run up to them and 
claim their protection, or proceed straight-forward to the village which 
was now close at hand, and seek shelter in the first house she could find. 
She determined upon the latter course, for notwithstanding all she had 
heard and read of, concerning the higher orders of society, she had got 
a notion, which, perhaps, was not quite so incorrect after all as it may 
appear at first sight in this democratic age — that the spirit of chivalry is 
not altogether extinct in the bosoms of the gentlemen of England, and 
that it is no bad thing in its way when one can find it. 

She walked on then, and passed through a gate into a little country 
lane with a hedge on either side. Soon after, she came to another gate, 
but this was of a different kind, for it was of that size, shape, and 
complexion, which usually gives entrance to the grounds of a gen- 
tleman's house. It was a neat, fresh-painted gate, pleasant to look 
c — NO. XI. y 

322 THE commissioner; or, 

upon, and it led into a nice gravel walk of about a hundred yards in 
.ength, at the end of which one came to a carriage sweep and the door of a 
house with a little pointed porch covered with ivy. Laura Longmore 
looked four or five times at the bell before she could make up her mind 
to ring it, but at length thinking, " Surely no gentleman will refuse me 
shelter and protection," she took heart of grace and gave it a good pull. 

The bell rang loud enough, but it was unsuccessful in bringing any 
respondent to the door. Laura determined to try again after waiting 
some five minutes, and this time she succeeded in bringing forth a tall, 
grim, supercilious-looking man, in a grey coat with brass buttons, 
bearing in the centre of them the head of some sort of beast, such as 
never was, and probably never will be seen in living form upon the 
earth. The tall footman looked at the young lady from head to foot, 
and seeing that she was dressed in somewhat anomalous apparel, he 
instantly conceived that it was an excellent opportunity of venting some 
of that superabundant insolence which is generated in large quantities 
in the epigastric region, just between the spleen and the liver of all fancy 
footmen, and is supposed to proceed from drinking strong ale and the 
ends of bottles of Madeira, together with the relics of patties and 

" You seem in a mighty hurry, good woman," said the tall footman ; 
" pray what may be your very pressing business, and who do' you want ?" 

Now the last question was a puzzling one to Laura Longmore, for as 
she had not the most distant idea of whose was the door at which she 
stood, she could by no means specify the person whom she wished 
to see. 

" I desire to speak either to your master or your mistress,** she 
replied, after a little hesitation, taking it for granted that every house 
had either a master or a mistress. 

The man grinned contemptuously. 

" My lady is not up," he said, " and won't be up for this three 
hours ; and as for my master the doctor, the reverend gentleman's busy, 
and won't like to be disturbed for such a one as you — though he has no 
objection to a pretty face either." 

" I should wish to see him, nevertheless," replied Laura Longmore, 
somewhat indignant. " I rather suspect you mistake what 1 am." 

" No, no," replied the man, with a sneer, " there's no mistake, I see 
what you are well enough. It's you have come to the wrong house, 
young woman, so you may take your letter, or petition, or whatever it is 
somewhere else. My master's not such a fool as to attend to any thing 
like that. If he did see you he would only commit you for a vagrant, 
so you had better be off"." 

Poor Laura burst into tears, but the fancy footman continued — 

" Come, come, don't stand blubbering there. If you want a fool's 
house where you'll be listened to, you must walk a mile down the lane, 
there you'll see a place on the right-hand side with a flower garden round 
it. It belongs to an oddity, who'll damn your eyes, and most likely give 
you half a guinea. Nobody was ever turned away there, for the 
servants are as big fools as the master." 


Thus saying he went in and shut the door, and Laura retreated down 
the gravel walk, resolved to take her way to what he called the fool's 
house, not doubting that, perhaps she had escaped worse treatment by 
not seeing the tall footman's reverend master; for if the Spanish proverb 
be a true one — " tell me the man's company and I will tell you the man," 
we might with almost equal justice say in England, " Show me the 
servant, and I will tell you the master." 




Having now done justice to Laura Langmore, though not that ample 
justice which our hearts would prompt us to show to one so sweet 
and amiable, we must turn to a person no less important whom we left 
in a certain chamber of Outrun Castle. 

The chevalier stood tapping his boot with his riding cane. He was 
not astonished at the determination of Jerry Tripe. No, reader, he was 
not astonished. To be astonished at any thing was .quite out of the 
cool, calm, reasoning character of the Chevalier de Lunatico. Nil 
admirari is the motto of the moon. Look at the light of the beautiful 
planet, reader, as it rests calm upon a bank ; there is nothing like 
astonishment in that ! Look at it as it floods the landscape before 
your eyes, picking out tower and town, wood and stream. Dark shadows 
and bright lights there are, but it is all cool, tranquil, and contempla- 
tive. Look at it as it dances upon yon sparkling sea ; light and 
brilliant as melted diamonds it certainly is, but still there is a graceful 
peacefulness in it — nothing sudden — nothing startling — nothing having 
the least affinity with surprise. No, no, the Chevalier de Lunatico 
could not be astonished at any thing ; the moon-light that was in him 
prevented that. He stood tapping his boot then, as we have said, with 
his riding cane, saying to himself, " Well, we will see. My friend, 
Jeremiah, you shall proceed to the county jail, and, moreover, you shall 
have the benefit of a trial. Then if you still remain obdurate, what's to 
be done with you next ? Why, I must send you to the moon, I suppose, 
for undoubtedly under those circumstances you will well deserve a 

As he thus paused and thought the door opened, and a thin atrabi- 
lious-looking gentleman sauntered in with a somewhat languid and 
lack-a-daisical air. He looked at the chevalier with that sort of glance 
which an Englishman always bestows upon any unfortunate stranger he 

324 THE commissioner; or, 

may chance to find in the same house with himself— a sort of 
" Are-you-a-pick-pocket?" expression of countenance. With a great 
deal of shyness, a great deal of apprehension, and a great deal of self- 
sufficiency in it a kind of mithridate composed of many things, and a 

perfect antidote to all low acquaintances. The chevalier returned 
the glance with his usual cool composure, having that light touch of 
superciliousness in it, which his high functions and great powers very 
well justified; but Mr. Winterton, for he was the personage wlio 
entered, immediately felt under the influence of Mr. de Lunatico's 
eye a strong inclination to approximate himself to his diplomatic 
neighbour, and being also moved by another passion called hunger, he 
said in a sweet and mellifluous tone — 

" Pray, sir, can you tell me if breakfast is ready ?" 

" I am not aware," replied the Chevalier de Lunatico ; " but, it 
does appear to me that you have some need of what the French call 
' restauration.' " 

" Indeed I have," cried Mr. Winterton, feelingly. " The fact is, we 
have all been sufiering diabolically during the niglit by a certain spas- 
modic afiection, for which I can find no appropriate term in the English 
language, but which was called by the Romans ' Tormina' " 

" Ah," said the chevalier, " you mean the gripes." 

" Precisely," said Mr. Winterton. 

" And may I ask," said the chevalier, " what was the cause of this 
complaint ?" 

" If it had affected myself alone," said Mr. Winterton, " I might have 
conceived that it was indignation at the manner in which the verses I 
recited were received, but every one in the whole house was as ill as 

" Do you not think," said the chevalier, in a philosophical tone, 
" that your verses might give them the gripes, and their inattention 
give them to you ? 1 have known such an effect in verses before. 
Recollect there are certain causes which act and re-act upon each other." 

" No, sir, no," cried Mr. Winterton, highly indignant ; " my verses 
were upon the infamous corn-laws, those horrible and detestable laws 
which starve the millions, and they were of such a sublime and affecting 
nature that they might touch the bowels of the most hard-hearted." 

" That is exactly the effect I attribute to them," replied the cheva- 
lier ; " but pray let me hear a little more of these corn-laws, my dear 
sir. Some of your laws are funny things in this country, I know." 

" Why, you must understand," said Mr. Winterton, " that those 
rascals, the farmers, in time of war, when we could get little or no 
grain from any other part of the world, laid out a great deal of money 
in improving the land and rendering it capable of supplying the whole 
country, or well nigh the whole country, with com. Well, then, we 
have a heavy national debt, and the farmer is obliged to pay in taxes 
his share of the interest. Thus, you see what, between what he has 
spent himself, like a fool as he was, and what other people have spent 
for him, it is utterly impossible that he can produce corn at the same 
price as foreign farmers can produce it, and that if the ports were open 


for foreign farmers to throw in their corn, the English farmer must be 
ruined, and go to the dogs or the devil." 

" A very pleasant consummation for him," said the chevalier. 

" Well," continued Mr. Winterton, " such being the case you see, a 
set of rogues and fools have tried to prevent that by putting duties upon 
the entrance of foreign corn, so that the English farmer can just repay 
himself. The moment the price gets high the duty falls, and in comes 
the foreign corn ; so long as the price is low the duty is high, and 
foreign corn is kept out." 

" And what is the result ?" said the chevalier. 

"Why this," replied Mr. Winterton — "our manufacturers are obliged 
to give higher wages to their labourers or artizans, or call them what you 
will, consequently they cannot produce goods at as cheap a rate as they 
otherwise could, consequently they cannot sell them so cheap to foreign 
nations, and consequently consequently consequently " 

" Go on," said the chevalier. 

" Why, consequently they cannot make so much money," said Mr. 

" That's a pity," said the chevalier. " I suppose, then, all your 
principal manufacturers are terribly poor devils, without a shilling in 
their pockets to bless themselves ?" 

" Oh, dear, no," cried Mr. Winterton ; indignantly," they are as rich 
us CrcBsus, rolling in wealth ! They do occasionally ruin themselves 
with over speculation and over production, it is true ; but in general 
they are made of money. That's the reason I am fond of them." 

" Then, I suppose," said the chevalier, " they are in fact a race of 
wealthy philanthropists M'ho originally set out with immense property, 
and daily see it decreasing in their eftbrts to encourage manufactures by 
carrying on trade even at a loss to themselves. They all begin trade, 
of course, with five or six hundred thousand pounds in their pockets ?" 

" Oh, dear, no," replied Mr. Winterton, " you are mistaken altoge- 
ther : in almost every instance they have been the artizans of their own 
fortune — a noble reputation, sir. I scarcely know one instance in 
which either the actual mill-owner or his father did not either commence 
business with little or nothing, or borrowed his capital to begin with." 
* And now they are rolling in riches ?" said the chevalier 

" Exactly," replied Mr. Winterton. 

" But the farmer of course is still more wealthy," said Mr. de Lunatico.